Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Before & After

Ahh, 2012 is just around the corner which means its time for our look back at the DIY projects of 2011!  Here’s what we hoped to accomplish this past year:

  • Redecorate master bathroom with new lighting, faucet, paint, refinish vanity, and frame mirror.  Woot!
  • Repaint office, kitchen, and bedroom, possibly even the living room, hallway, and foyer?
  • Build fancy new shared desk for office.  <—Plans are in the works!
  • Replace grungy carpet in den with laminate floors FINALLY! Please say 2011 is the magic year! <—Not the magic year :(
  • Curtains for den windows (botched attempt #1 in 2010).
  • Install shelving in garage for storage <—remind me to show you after pics (after I clean up the garage!)
  • Convince Michael to let me paint the kitchen cabinets! <—Still working on this!
  • Landscape mailbox bed, mulch backyard beds.
  • Rebuild deck…  another year passes and I still have to write this on the list….
  • Make plans to clear out back line of property for a sunny vegetable garden!

This was published on the blog (here) for all to see and now I must be judged for my failings in 2011. :)

Five and a half out of eleven isn’t terrible, right?  Especially since some of those are just pipe dreams that I put on the list every year!  So now that we’ve addressed my DIY failings, let’s see what I actually accomplished, shall we?

I jumped right in on the master bathroom makeover and did everything I said I would… and it looks awesome.  Almost a year later and I still love it!  And seeing these before pictures makes me love it even more!! :)



Even though we didn’t get a new deck in 2011, we did build an awesome fence for Riley.  It took over a month and certainly wasn’t cheap, but I have to say it was money well spent.  Having a dog is much easier with a fenced-in yard.  Riley and I are both happy campers now…



We spent a lot of time in the yard this past year… adding lattice to the deck, planting, mulching, enlarging and adding new planting beds, and we even installed cute new steps in the side yard. 

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I also painted our master bedroom, closet and the office (which is still such a mess that I didn’t even blog about it… new desk and office makeover coming soon!).  And I restyled and subsequently lengthened the bedroom curtains, too!

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(Sadly our room hasn’t looked this nice since this picture was taken… sigh.) 

Speaking of painting, I began an exterior makeover with a front door transformation!  I can’t wait to get back to work outside on the shutters and trim!  Okay I really can wait, but I sure will be excited to see it done.



Aside from the painting upgrades, there were also some lighting updates in 2011.  The deck sconces were replaced with pretty new ones.  The kitchen light got a new shade and the den got two new light fixtures!  I won’t bore you with the befores, but here are the afters:



Basically the rest of the blog year was spent crafting, gardening, decorating for parties (summer and fall) and holidays (both scary and merry), and generally rearranging stuff

That brings us to our new to-do list for 2012!  Oh the pressure!  Here are some of the goals we hope to accomplish in the coming year:

  • Paint the kitchen walls and trim and possibly the cabinets
  • Paint the hallway, living room and foyer
  • Build and install desk for office, refinish bookcase to match, install bifold doors on closet
  • Install laminate floors in den (I think it might be the year!)
  • Make curtains for den windows
  • Hang additional shelving in garage (and reveal after pics of it all!)
  • Rebuild deck…  (don’t hold your breath for this one)
  • Actually make plans to clear out “the last frontier” for sunny vegetable garden??
  • Finish exterior spruce-up with black shutters, black storm door, and freshly painted white trim!
  • Install paver patio/pathway between deck and garage
  • Have lots of fun and take lots of pictures for blog friends!! :)

Hope you’re making plans for a fabulously productive, fun, and happy New Year 2012!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas at Fort Guthrie

I was visiting my parents’ house today and took some photos of all the Christmas decorations to share.  So, if Mama had a blog, this is what it would look like.

The front staircase is decorated with garland and red and gold accents.  The ornament cluster came from Habitat Restore.  I love it and want to steal it.  Since stealing is not in the Christmas spirit, I had to make my own.  But I haven’t found any garland to go with it yet. 


Her garland is strung with white lights and poinsettias and is dripping with glass icicle ornaments.


She opted to get a real tree this year and retire her artificial snow covered one.  She stripped the lights off the old one and repurposed the top section into a tabletop tree by sticking the base into a log stand.  I think this is super cute and a great way to reuse your old artificial tree!  The rest of the branches will make their way into decorations next year when we use them as greenery in arrangements around the house.  Can’t wait for that!


Over on the mantle, more garland and lights are joined with red poinsettias, candles and berry clusters.  And the stockings are hung with care, of course.  The rest of the stockings are hanging on the bookcase, but I neglected to take their photo.



The dining room is festive with red and gold accents.


The table is set much like last year with Spode Christmas tree china and poinsettia napkin rings.  The new addition is the lacy poinsettia runner that we got on sale at Joann’s.  It so perfectly says Mama.  :)


The Christmas village is on display on the buffet.  It has candle trees, figurines and even a carriage ornament as accessory pieces.  Every time I visit the pieces are rearranged.  Sometimes the carriage is at the store and sometimes there are snowmen in the street.  It’s fun!


The rest of Dickensville is over on the corner shelf.  We picked up a few new pieces for our collection this past year at thrift stores… among them a cottage that belongs to “Mr. & Mrs. Santa” (which I had to get because my mom calls herself “Mrs. Santa” at Christmastime) and a fabric/dress shop (very appropriate!).  The shop has little rolls of fabric on display and people inside doing their Christmas shopping.  It’s precious!


On top of Mama’s desk, we created our rustic winter scene with pinecone trees and brush reindeer.  I gave you all the details here.


The Christmas tree is in the parlor this year.  It’s a nice skinny tree decorated with colored lights, festive ornaments that have been collected over 40 years and topped with a red and ivory bow.

Tree Day 1:


Tree Day 29: 


If you look closely you can see how Mama rearranges all the ornaments after we leave. :)  And of course there is a massive pile flood of presents beneath.  We really go all out for Christmas at Fort Guthrie.  The worst part (or best part depending on your point of view) is that this pile is still lacking gifts from two of the three children.  Ha!  Merry Christmas to us!

Here is the tree all sparkly as I have learned to capture with the tripod.  Praise be to the inventor of the tripod!  I’m sure you all are enjoying my new crisp photos lately? :)


As promised, my niece Abby and I did build the gingerbread house today and here we are with our fabulous candy/cookie creation.  Notice the gumdrop roof on one side and peppermint studded roof on the other.  It’s a new trend in home design… I think. :)


Thanks for coming along for the Guthrie Christmas Spectacular! 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pile o’ Presents and a Christmas Card Display

It’s only 2 1/2 days till Christmas and I still have a few Christmas things to share with you from the Horvath House!  My Christmas shopping is done and all the gifts are wrapped save for one that got waylaid in route.  It will be in tomorrow, but I wanted to show you our pile of presents under the tree!


I don’t prescribe to these fancy new ways of wrapping presents in all one color or in kraft paper with excessive embellishments.  Although this year I did manage to wrap all the gifts in different paper!  That’s a bit extreme I guess… :)  But it looks pretty.  I added a bunch of new ornaments to the tree yesterday that I bought at Sam’s… not as though you could tell since it was so stuffed with ornaments already!


My little sleigh is doing a good job of holding a bunch of the smaller packages under the tree.  Too bad it can’t fly off to deliver all these presents for me!


As Christmas is swiftly approaching we have been receiving more Christmas cards in the mail each day.  It’s always a challenge to come up with practical and pretty display ideas for cards.  This year I made a little holiday clothesline on the kitchen wall to display all of the cards from friends and family.


I found these tiny clothespins in the office supply section at Walmart.  And even though they were $2 for 8 (ouch!) I couldn’t resist getting several packs for my clothesline.  Last year I strung them up with paperclips… not as cute.  If you don’t see your Christmas card up there, you better get one in the mail to me, pronto!  :)

Tomorrow I am going to spend the day at my parent’s house baking cookies and decorating a gingerbread house with my niece Abby.  While I’m visiting, I will take final photos of the Guthrie Christmas Spectacular for your viewing pleasure.  I’ll be back tomorrow to share all the details!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Redecorations

A couple weeks ago I showed you my Christmas dining room decor.  Well, since then I have added a few things to the room that I want to share with you!  This year as I helped my mom and some friends decorate their houses, I have been obsessed with ornaments piled in a bowl.  But when it came time to decorate my own house, I neglected to make a bowl full of ornaments for me to gaze upon.  Nothing would do but I had to redecorate the dining room to accommodate this:


I scavenged around the house until I found this beautiful tiered silver tray.  The tray was a gift from a family friend that I’ve had for a couple of years but never used.  It’s going to be a Christmas staple around here from now on. :)


I also added a few things to the dining room table.  My mom and I were shopping Michael’s for tiny wreaths to adorn our mini sleighs when we found a couple of glittery wreaths ornaments.  They turned out to be better as a candle bobeche than as sleigh decor so I placed them on my crystal candlesticks.


They are perfect!


Today I received a couple of new candles—handmade twisted red and green tapers (Thanks Kathy!)  So, naturally I had to switch out the red ones for these fancy new ones.  And of course, they got the place of honor in the adorned candleholders:


I’m digging the variation.  Plus it’s fun to watch the wax drip around the twist in a circle.  :)  It’s more entertainment for my dinner guests.

The last thing I had to redecorate was my Christmas snowflake pillows that I made two years ago.  This year we updated them with silver beading over the embroidery.  While working backstage on The Nutcracker I had lots of free time to sew beads on the pillows… and here they are all finished:


It’s hard to tell in photos, but the beads really sparkle in the light, especially at night when the Christmas lights are reflecting off of them.  I love how they turned out.  Here’s a before and after for your comparison:

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While we’re talking about pillows, I want to show you the poinsettia pillows I sewed up a couple weeks ago.  After seeing this one from Pottery Barn, I thought it would be the perfect pillow for my Mama who loves poinsettias.  Here is my version made with felt and tiny jingle bells:


That’s all for now!  Hope your last minute Christmas projects are coming together… Only five days to go!

I’ll be back later this week to share our pile o’ presents and decorations from around Fort Guthrie.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Lights

Our Christmas tour ventures outside tonight to see all the twinkling lights we’ve strung up on the house.  Grab your coat and furry scarf and meet me out in the yard.  While you’re getting bundled up, let me show you how the house looks in the daylight:


We have garland strung between the columns, a fresh fir wreath on the door and tiny wreaths in the upper windows.  And of course, dark red bows dot the whole scene for a bit of holiday color.  And on the porch, I added a couple of tinsel trees to the urns that flank the door.  I love this wreath and the gold edged bow that you can see from the street!


Okay, now let’s step outside and see it all lit up at night…


We wrapped the columns in white lights and looped some on the new fence.  The back fence is lit with colored lights.  Plus I took what was left of the colored lights and lit one cheerful little bush in front.  :)  Maybe next year he’ll get some little friends to join him.


Candles glitter from each of the upstairs windows and the tiny trees on the porch are glowing.

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Have I mentioned lately that I love my new black door?  This picture says it perfectly…


I wanted something to go in the little urns on the porch that was tree-shaped and inexpensive.  After giving up on finding little artificial trees to put there, I finally found these plastic cone trees wrapped in tinsel at Family Dollar.  They were a little on the small side, so I wrapped over them with “chunky” tinsel and then wound a mini light string around each one.  Then I topped it with a gold star that I hot glued in place.  Aren’t they cute?


I love driving into our street and seeing the lights shining from the porch and fence.  It just feels like Christmas to me.  Hope you all are feeling the Christmas spirit, too.

Countdown continues… only 9 days to go!