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Painting Awesome: Moroccan Stenciling

21 May

It only took me 8 years to do this. SLIGHT exaggeration… I guess it was more like 3 months. Yeah, it really shouldn’t have taken that long at all. I remember telling my friend I was going to finish in the beginning of April before she came to visit. Ha! *snort* Yeah, that totally didn’t happen. I’m sorry, but stenciling is h-a-a-a-r-d.

Before more people ask:  No, I did not buy a (hard, plastic) stencil. Yes, I do know that said stencils exist. But obviously you don’t know me well enough to know that if I can get it for free then that’s the way I’m gonna go! Yes, I downloaded my paper stencil from the interwebs, and in my further defense, after doing one set of my bookshelves and moving to the other one, I found out my bookshelves are two different sizes! So I couldn’t have used a purchased and/or non paper stencil anyway. Also, I’d just like to point out that it was a royal pain in the ass to have two different sizes of bookshelves. I like to think that since the pattern is so “busy” you can’t tell that they don’t match up in size/height/placement of stencils. DON’T LOOK TO CLOSELY.

So let’s start over. We painted our living room in March… I think. Maybe? I don’t even know. Sometime in 2013 that wasn’t April or May. As I may have mentioned, we’re on a mission to rid our house of “putrid peach”. AKA the color every G-D wall is painted in our house and is unnoticeable when visiting… but drives you bonkers when you live with it. Gah. Anyway. We picked a darker taupe color and I love it. Ok to be fair I’d probably love anything that wasn’t putrid peach, but whatever. I still love it.

You can see the peach on the left by the door. *shutter*

You can see the original peach on the left by the door. *shutter* New color is the color around the door.

better pic of the color

better pic of the new color

Stevie was not a fan of us painting “her” room, since we had to move her crate into the dining room for a couple days. Note the death stare. She doesn’t like change.

I don't like change.

I don’t like change.

As we were painting the living room, we decided to paint the built-in shelves that are in there as well. Because for SOME god.forsaken.reason, whoever painted putrid peach (PP) also chose to put it on the backs of the damn shelves. The shelves that were white on all sides except PP on the back. Yeah. Horrendous, I know. So we painted them white and I had the GENIUS idea to stencil the backs of the shelves, because Pinterest told me to.

stencil time

stencil time

Now here’s where I pat myself on the back (and you should too). I took this damn stencil (ok, I copied it like 6 times, but still) and taped it on each shelf and then traced it with pencil. That’s like 86,000 stencilings. Literally.

Like so

Like so

Not exactly an easy or fun time.

and like so-er

and like so-er

I also did the bottom two shelves (you can see in the pic below), which I didn’t need to do because I was tired of painting the damn shelves actually decided I didn’t want the pattern to go down that far and so I ended up trying to erase the pencil, failing miserably, and painting over the pencil marks again. Oh well. You live, you learn.

paint time

paint time

And then I painted between all those little lines (I should point out that I am nowhere near even a decent painter, so this took lots of time and I took turns painting white and yellow, to hide the mistakes). And then I did it again. And again. And then I usually did another trip around with the white to make sure the lines looked good. It looked good from afar from the first coat, so my husband had the hardest time understanding why I continued to paint for weeks and weeks (“Is it done yet???”) but when you paint like a child, this is just what you have to do. He apparently thought I just loved painstakingly painting little lines while perched precariously on a ladder. (say that 5 times fast)

Here’s the greatest part of this post – I took lots of terrible pictures of the finished product because no matter what time of day it was, the lighting was awful on at least one side of the structure. So use your imagination.

see? one side lit up. no amount of other lighting seemed to help either.

see? one side lit up. no amount of other lighting seemed to help either.

2013-05-08 23.01.24 2013-05-08 23.01.14

no, that's not a finger print. it's probably the ghost of putrid peach.

no, that’s not a finger print. it’s probably the ghost of putrid peach.

Anyway, even though I complain a lot, I love it! And totally would do it all over again. I’ve even contemplated it for the bathroom. Hmm… I think my husband would kill me, though, remembering how long it took me to do these freakin’ shelves.

My living room is now pinterestified.

Totally a word.

-C

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Painting Awesome: MAN CAVE

8 Jan

Ok, here we go. I’m not even going to look at the last time I posted. Let’s just do this.

When we first bought our house, I told my husband he could (and should) have a “man cave”. Which then evolved into “man room” because he wasn’t too fond of the term “cave” for god knows why. My reasoning for offering this up to him was twofold: 1 – I basically get total say over decorating the rest of the house, letting him do whatever he wants in there. 2 – I had a place to put my sports memorabilia as well. Wins all around for me!

For many months he would tell people it wasn’t really a man room since it was pretty much just all my stuff in there (not true, but ok, it’s also a quasi office since there’s really nowhere else to put the desk!). But I had a vision. Oh I had a vision! He clearly just couldn’t see that vision. He was totally unconvinced that this (tiny) room would turn into a man room.

Cue painting. I know he thought he was going to get a resounding HELL NO when he told me he wanted to paint the room red, but clearly he didn’t know that I already had this vision for that room (again, I don’t know why he can’t see my vision!). Red is both a Phillies’ color and a Red Sox color, so I was fine with it (also a Sixers’ color and Liverpool color). Anyway, my point is he was totally surprised when I agreed to paint the room red.

Here’s the tricky part… neither of us have ever really painted a room before. He, I’m pretty sure, never had before, and I hadn’t painted a room since I painted my room 4 different colors (one for each wall) in my teens.

Let’s not talk about how long ago that was.

Also, my husband seems to think I know how to do everything. Well, everything he doesn’t know how to do. He gets annoyed at me when I’m like, “I have no idea what tools we need to paint!” He thinks I’m just purposely not telling him. As if that would make my life any easier?? Lol. So we decided to paint the smallest room in our house first.

Since I’m a bargain shopper to the bone, and Home Depot was having a sale on a particular paint, I was like, “It’s paint. It’s on sale. That’s what we’re getting. How bad can it be?” I was warned by at least two people not to get Behr paint. I got Behr paint. I now regret this.

Two coats in, the walls looked like this:

notice the Phillies' and Red Sox fan pulls I bought!

notice the Phillies’ and Red Sox fan pulls I bought!

Terrible, right?? It also didn’t help that my husband and I are… quite particular about things. Note the floor covered in newspaper and every surface taped. So we were clearly going to keep painting until it looked good.

Three coats in…

ugh

ugh

It took us five, FIVE coats of paint to finish the smallest room ever. I am never (ever ever) painting a room red, OR with Behr paint again.

FINALLY

FINALLY

Ok here are some before and after shots.

Before (obviously):

note the "Putrid Peach" on the walls

note the “Putrid Peach” on the walls

After:

2012-09-29 22.02.51

2012-09-29 22.03.09

2012-09-29 22.03.24

2012-09-29 22.03.34

Holy man room, Batman, am I right?? But I totally love it. I love the idea of being able to display all sports/music-related memorabilia in one room. Oh yeah, and my husband loves it too…

It took less than a week after we finished painting for him to fill it. We did not have all of this stuff beforehand (some, but not all). My husband, who doesn’t like “things”, went a bit cray cray buying things for his man room, lol. I had to put a stop to it at some point so we can still add things to it down the road! Like the “gig” wall on the right – that’s going to be a wall of concert posters we acquire.

2012-09-29 22.02.43

Also, in case you’re wondering, I pushed hard for a futon in that room. Which meant it was my job to find one that fit in that little nook (not exactly easy to do)! I like things that double as sleeping areas, if the need ever arises for visitors. I mean, yes, we have a guest bedroom, but if we have LOTS of visitors, we can pull this out a few feet and put the arms down and it is, indeed, a bed. If anyone’s wondering, I found it online at Target! Don’t worry, I got it on sale at the time. 🙂

These pics were taken a while ago, so my husband now has a few sports-related pillows that I bought and my mom made him for Christmas. My mom made him pinstripe curtains, too! But we don’t have them yet, so they’re not up yet, so no pics of that yet.

Oh, and my husband has since declared it “The Man Cave”, like it was his idea.

Cue eye roll.

-C

Theme Parties Are Awesome – Indoor Picnic

18 Jul

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of throwing a theme party at work. I try to utilize a theme whenever possible for our events (you’ve got to know your audience, though – for example, I could NOT have done this for our New York office). We don’t usually have much of a budget for decorations, so what I’ve gotten used to is decorating with food – my new favorite thing actually! I love carrying a theme from decor to food.

Since we don’t have much of an outdoor space in our building, and had to utilize our own space for this event, I went with an “indoor picnic/bbq” theme.

I hit the dollar store and got some gingham napkins and plastic gingham tablecloths. Before you cringe – because most people did when I told them about it beforehand:

See? Not too shabby!

I am telling you now that it did NOT look cheap. This event was pretty much living proof that you can decorate with even the most MINIMAL of budgets (if you couldn’t tell, I’m big on decorating for everything!). I also felt like it wouldn’t be an “indoor barbecue” with white linen tablecloths. Who has a barbecue with white linens?? Nobody, ever. Well, we put them underneath the gingham. Whatever.

In addition, because I know that was just one table, I also got some dollar store baskets and some sunflowers from a local florist.

Anyway, onto the goodies – the food! I love planning menus for theme parties. It’s like hmm what do I really love at a barbecue? Ok fine, and what do other people like, too.

Our menu (and yes, we are lucky enough to have a fantastic in-house caterer to make all of our culinary dreams come true):

– Grilled vegetable skewers
– Pigs in a blanket
– BBQ chicken skewers
– Slider bar (with options of beef burger, BBQ pulled pork, and veggie burgers)
– Fresh watermelon wedges
– Potato salad shooters
– Deviled eggs (what’s a BBQ without deviled eggs?!)
– Strawberry shortcake

A few things that I thought were awesome (if I do say so myself):

1 – The slider bar. Bars of any sort (as in, build it yourself bars, also called stations) are such a good thing to have at an event. It breaks up the monotony of walking around and scooping up some preassembled food onto a plate. And all the fixin’s placed around instead of on, give people the opportunity to be as picky as they want. Bars that are “so in” these days include: mashed/baked potato bars, taco bars, cupcake bars, slider bars, and, of course candy bars (which most of you know I had at my wedding).  Mixing up the slider bar options is fun, too! We’ve done turkey slider bars for fall receptions – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc.

2 – Carrying the theme through beverages as well! I went with both red and white sangrias, and also flavored water decanters. Delicious, functional, and pretty! All that fruit floating around in the glass decanter. It’s so… summery. I also had our caterer seek out some old time-looking sodas (you know, glass bottles, pop top). He was even able to find Philadelphia soda! I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

3 – The potato salad shooters (think shot glasses of potato salad). Shooters are awesome. They just are. I don’t even like potato salad nor did I eat any of it, but it’s just the idea of shooters. We use it often. For Mardi Gras we had jambalaya shooters. For a fall reception we had pumpkin bisque shooters. Shooters go along with everyone loving mini everything these days at events. Think about sliders – everyone loves sliders! They’re mini and cute. Shooters are mini and cute. Also, easy to hold and eat at a cocktail reception. Also I’m going to share my favorite thing that I can’t wait to try for a fall event (soup isn’t really a summer thing, unless it’s gazpacho!): grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters.

MIND.BLOWN.

Ok, I’m a big geek for stuff like that, so maybe YOUR mind’s not blown, but mine sure was when I first saw it. And I am SO doing this at some point this fall. Or in my home for myself.

Anyway, this was just a post to tell you about my (not so cheap looking) cheap decorations, carrying a theme through food, and leading up to what I’m planning for this weekend…

Stay tuned.

-C

Holiday Awesome: The Shiny and The Sparkly

31 Dec

There are basically two things New Year’s Eve epitomizes:

1 – disappointment (you know it’s true. new year’s never lives up to what we build it up to be!)

2 – sparkly things

But mainly just sparkly things.

yummy sparkly sugar rim

you gotta have a disco ball!

makin' those christmas bulbs work double-time

i missed wearing a sparkly dress this year 😦

Unfortunately I had to sit out festivities this year because we had a 5 1/2 hour delayed flight back from England, AND my hubby’s sick. Oh well. I’m pretty tired myself.

Must… stay… up… to… watch… ball… dr………

Happy 2012!

xxx

Holiday Awesome: New Year’s Traditions

31 Dec

Do YOU have any New Year’s traditions? Will you be eating lentils tomorrow? Or just toasting to a new year tonight? The only tradition I keep is wearing a pretty dress. Petty? Maybe. Pretty? Yup!

Some people have traditions and superstitions they adhere to every year. Probably passed down for generations. I don’t recall any traditions in my family, but am willing to bet my Meamaw had a few. She always had these old school traditions and superstitions she’d come out with.

A quick google search turned up a few beauts:

– making sure your pantry is full when the new year starts, so that you don’t go hungry throughout the year
– it’s apparently lucky to eat black eyed peas, lentils, or pork. UNlucky to eat poultry, because they scratch in the ground and you don’t want that for yourself in the new year (um, apparently)
– wearing a new item of clothing on new year’s day means you could be in for more new clothing items in the new year (I could give this one a whirl!)
– “letting the old year out” open your doors at midnight to let the old year out and the new one in (guess that’s where out with the old, in with the new comes from!)
– nothing leaves your house on new year’s day. nothing except you, that is. (Um, I don’t get this one.)
– breaking anything on new year’s day apparently means there will be some kind of “wreckage” in your life in the new year
– the first person to step foot in your house in the new year will apparently influence your life in some way that year (I would think if this person’s coming into your house that they play a pretty decent role in your life already!)

Now I’ll be trying not to break anything and contemplating giving black eyed peas a taste for the first time in my life. Did I miss any good traditions?

Don’t forget your kiss at midnight kiddies!

xxx

Crazy Christmas: If I Had a Million Dollars (If I Had a Million Dollars)

26 Dec

I’d buy me some $20,000 lawn ornaments.

Well, I’d probably need more than ONE million dollars to justify that. Come on, who has this kind of money??

These lawn ornaments were on sale on OneKingsLane.com for $19,999. Don’t worry, it’s on sale from the original price of $40,000. SERIOUSLY?!

ridiculous

I’d also like to point out that when I went to the site to look at it (the sale is over now), the item was already in another member’s cart. So obviously there are people out there with $20,000 to spend ON LAWN ORNAMENTS FOR CHRISTMAS.

Set includes: one 8-foot-diameter lawn ornament and one 4-foot-diameter lawn ornament
Made of: fiberglass and hand-applied brass leaf with clear-coat automotive finish
Weight: 300 lbs/160lbs
Color: gold
Care instructions: Suitable for outdoor use. Dust with soft cloth when on display. To store, wrap in blankets or plastic and place in dry environment.

Also, the item is listed as “white glove delivery”, which costs just a mere $200 for delivery.

“If your idea of holiday finery is more Rockefeller Center than inflatable reindeer, consider this your golden (literally) opportunity. Gleaming in gold leaf, these spectacular holiday lawn ornaments supersize seasonal sentiment with award-winning style. And you won’t only be the talk of the town, you’ll be in iconic company: These incredible creations are the work of Design Solutions, whose monumentally proportioned holiday displays thrill crowds at such venues as the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas, the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and, yes, Rockefeller Center.”

No, if I had a million dollars, I do not think I’d spend any of it on something like this. You?

xxx

Christmas Not-So-Awesome: How About You Not…

24 Dec

…do any of the following:

Yes, that is a reindeer hung upside down and bleeding out. I imagine this is a hunting enthusiast's house. I HOPE it's a hunting enthusiast's house.

ok, kind of funny - if you're still in college.

oh honey, really?? this is almost as bad as Jessica Simpson's pregnant mummy. ALMOST.

contrary to the caption, this is not a win!

ladies, please don't do this.

men, you either.

come on, you can do better than this!

spell check, people!

if, and only IF, you have enough of the same beer bottle, could this be awesome. if you don't have the same bottles, this type of tree is reserved for dorm rooms only!

I hope you decorated wisely, my friends.

xxx