Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012: Before & After

December is coming to a close and the New Year is just around the corner.  It’s time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments and plan next year’s home goals.  Here’s a look back at what I planned to work on this past 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

That’s more than 50% accomplished.  Granted the things we did were minor in comparison to some of those big projects on the list.  Like the… ahem… deck rebuild.  We did get lots of painting done, some new furniture installed and I finally got my laminate floors in the den!  Plus we spent the hottest part of the summer installing our paver patio.  But that is something we can check off the list! :)

Here’s a rundown of my most notable projects from 2012.

In January, we built and installed our custom dream desk which was the best Christmas present ever and maybe the best project we’ve ever done.  We use this desk every day and we love it so much!



From pathetic to outstanding! Hooray!  I never refinished the bookcase or installed bifold doors.  I may put those projects on the back burner.

In other furniture upgrades last year, I refinished an old dresser in a vibrant shade of turquoise for the den.  I still haven’t organized those drawers as much as I would like, but I am happy to have a smaller piece of furniture in this space.  And that bright color doesn’t hurt either. :)



In addition to painting some furniture, we also painted some walls.  A lot of walls actually.  I finally got up the nerve to paint the kitchen and a few months later I did the foyer, hallway and living room, too.  It’s been a welcome change. 



The living room was a major project but we persevered and finished it, even the vaulted ceiling part!



We did some upgrades outside, too, completing the English garden pathways and also installing a 200-square foot paver patio in the backyard.



The paver patio was fun and challenging at the same time.  It was 100-degrees out and we were working under time constraints to get ready for a July 4th party.  But we managed to get it done!  It’s not perfect but it’s a major upgrade from the gravel mess that we were dealing with before.  I love our new patio!



and one more gratuitous patio shot. :)


And our last big project of 2012 was of course new flooring for the den!  That was my birthday present and my brother-in-law installed the floors for me!  They are beautiful and so much nicer than the grungy carpet from before.



In addition to these notable projects, I also added more shelving to the garage, but I didn’t get it fully organized so I haven’t posted about that yet.  I also added shelving in the closet under the stairs which made it so much more functional.  I will be sure to share the details from these upgrades in the new year.  Meanwhile, let’s ponder a list of to-do goals for 2013!

  • Make curtains for den windows (probably going to inherit curtains from the living room)
  • Make new curtains for the living room to match the new couches!
  • Rebuild deck… (I enjoy putting this on the list every year)
  • Clear out “the last frontier” for sunny vegetable garden (or not?)
  • Finish exterior spruce-up with black shutters, black storm door, and freshly painted white trim! (Really have to do that this year… the front door is looking lonely without his shutter counterparts.)
  • Resow grass in back yard (again)
  • Resow grass in the front yard
  • Repaint/replace garden swing in English Garden
  • Reupholster Antique Chair for Office
  • Mount new TV on wall and rearrange gallery frames
  • Refinish dining table and side table in living room
  • Install overhead lights in the closets upstairs (are you reading this Papa??) :)

Not too many major projects on there except for the ones we likely won’t do.  :)  Bu I can’t wait to get started on the new year projects with a mini-makeover in the living room and a full reveal post! Stay tuned!

Happy New Year 2013!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

It’s Christmas Eve eve!  :)  Which means only two days till Christmas, so it’s time to share our Christmas tree details and some night shots.  If you follow me on facebook you will have noticed a sneak peek of our new couches!  I’ll be back after Christmas to show you more pics of the new couches and a full reveal!  Meanwhile, here is our beautiful Christmas tree.


That was a couple of weeks ago before I got all the presents under there.  Here it is now:



You can also see our Christmas card display.  Last night I rearranged them and added a second ribbon on the opposite side of the doorway so I could fit more cards in. 


This year I only added a few ornaments.  Like this little owl one that I got from a coworker… isn’t it cute?


But I did add some tinsel loops and glitter ball picks.  I saw a tree in Lowes Creative Ideas magazine that was wrapped with red ribbon and had these gold sequin loops stuck in the branches.  I loved it and set about trying to recreate that look.  I never found any loops (apparently they were sold at Lowes, but I never looked there, duh!) so I bought gold wired tinsel and made my own version.


The gold and red glitter ball picks came from Michaels.



Ah, I just love my Christmas tree, especially at night with the glow of the tree and the glow from the Christmas lights on the porch.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


Now I have to get ready to host our Christmas lunch.  More parties tomorrow and Christmas day with some relaxing and “It’s a Wonderful Life” thrown in there for good measure. :)  Hope your holidays are merry and bright!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Very Guthrie Christmas

With only three days till Christmas I am running out of time to show you all of our Christmasy things!  So I am back today to share the Christmas decorations from Fort Guthrie.

This year Mama bought a secondhand gold mirror which perfectly fit over the mantel.  I just happened to be visiting that day so we coerced my dad into hanging it over the mantel for us.  Then I proceeded to decorate the top with pine garland, lights, red candles, ornaments and gold votives.  It is perfect! 


Isn’t it beautiful?  I told Mama she must never take it down off the wall or else it might disappear into my car! :)  I am already imagining it as the centerpiece for our Halloween mantel!


This year we are obsessed with these apple spice candles from Michaels.  They smell so good!


Across the room are the rest of the stockings (hung by the bookcase with care).  On top of the bookcase we added some pine pieces that were taken from an old artificial tree.  We repurpose repurpose repurpose!  We also made a wreath out of the leftovers to hang on the chimney outside but I am a terrible blogger and I forgot to take pics of the outdoor decor!  Perhaps an after-Christmas special post?


Anyway I threw some gold and red ornaments on top with the greenery.


In the dining room everything is red and gold and green. 


I made this centerpiece with leftover pine sprigs, branches and some tiny ornaments.  We made another centerpiece with silver branches in a big white urn and decorated it with all silver and glass ornaments.  And then I forgot to photograph it.  Bad. 


Here’s the full view of the room.


In the parlor we have set up our Christmas village “Dickensville” on the top of the black cabinet. 


In town the apple salesman is pushing those apples for stocking stuffers and Santa is landing in his hot air balloon on top of the post office.


There’s Santa’s cottage in the middle of town.  Must be his vacation home, huh?


And up on the hill on the outskirts of town is a big country house.  The bears who came to visit are sledding back to their cottage down the hill. :)


In the kitchen, Mama set up another “village” of sorts in the window.  It’s a rustic snowy woodland scene complete with deer, owl, fox and Santa mouse?  haha.  The pinecone trees make their appearance here.  We have since added twig star lights and a giant snowflake ornament over top.  It’s cute!



The Christmas tree Day 1:  Looks kind of sad without all the presents underneath… Don’t worry it looks much happier now. :)


I will be back to share my Christmas tree complete with present pile soon!  Now it’s time to clean the house for our first Christmas gathering tomorrow afternoon.  Have a wonderful almost-Christmas weekend everyone!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Tour Part Five—Outdoor Decor

Welcome back for the final installment of our Christmas tour.  Let’s venture outside for a look at all the festive details.  But on our way out, I have to show you the foyer which is decked with boughs of pine garland. 



My pinecone wreath from Target graces the front door.


Even the lower railing got a bit of Christmas decor this year. 



By day we have pine garland on the porch and wreaths on all the windows.


I added a couple of tiny trees flanking the front door this year.  I made these with pine garland wrapped around my pyramid trellises.  It worked like a charm!  Then I decorated the “trees” with lights and red ornaments.  I love them!


I also added some zing to my wreath from last year in the form of glittery branches from Michaels and some shiny ornaments. 


At night the house really shines with lights wrapped around the front columns and draped along the roofline.  We even added a Moravian star to the porch which I love!  (Thanks Mama!)  And of course there are candles in the windows. :)


This year I finally got some lighted trees like I have always wanted.  I love them! (Thanks John!)

My brother made the form for these which is basically a pole that sticks in the ground with a small circle on top to corral all the light strings. I threaded them through the circle and then staked them to the ground. I tried various things to fasten the lights to the ground including pieces of coat hanger bent into U-shapes, light clips with a stake attached that are available commercially and also metal tent stakes.  The tent stakes worked the best!  Next year I am going to modify the design for the poles and make the circle at the top open like a U instead so I don’t have to thread all the lights through.  I plan to get more of these trees!


On the driveway side of the house we have lights on the fence and candy canes marching in front.  There are colored lights on the back fence, too!




I love my Christmas porch!


Only four days till Christmas!!  Now, I must get to the sewing room to complete my last project.  But don’t worry, I’ll be back to show you the Christmas tree at night and also to share my mom’s Christmas decor from Fort Guthrie!