Color correcting

When we first moved into our house, as you may know, it needed a lot of work. From tearing down walls, to completely renovating the both kitchen and bathroom, to adding a new floor, we’ve made a lot of big changes around this place. On a much mare basic level, one thing every room in the house needed before moving in was new paint. Well, first every room needed to have the walls washed, which was a slightly horrifying task when we saw how much dirt and smoke residue was coming off of them.

The color we chose for the bedroom was yellow, which if you’ve never painted with yellow before, you might know how fickle and frustrating it can be. We went to the store, spent a lot of time trying to choose the right shade of yellowish gold and finally decided on something – which I cannot remember anymore. The reason being, once it started to go on the walls, it was obvious that it was completely wrong. In the end, the color was switched to Pyramid Gold by Behr, and we were satisfied for the time being.

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Overall, we liked the color, but it just wasn’t working with the room. It wasn’t awful, but it just wasn’t right. The brown tables and shades probably didn’t help too much either. So, the first step we took was to switch out the blinds. We switched the blinds to white, to try to add some softness to the room. It worked, but it still didn’t fix the room completely. So, after a while we decided to just repaint the room.

We were a little annoyed to repaint only about a year after originally painting the room, but we also knew there was no sense keeping the room the same color when we didn’t really enjoy it, or when it didn’t really suit our taste for the space. We commissioned Matt’s awesome cousin Sam to dog sit and paint while we were on vacation. Coming back from vacation to the room all painted and finished was fantastic.

I’ve always liked gray as a paint color, especially for bedrooms. I like painting a room a subtle color and then using the accessories in a room to bring in some bold shades. Matt wasn’t sure about gray. It took a while to convince him that gray could look nice in a room, but eventually he came around.

We also got a new bed from IKEA – a storage bed with shelves on the sides of the headboard and large drawers underneath. The bed is somewhat large for the room now, but the storage was desperately needed and the bed will be used in the larger master bedroom upstairs one day. We still have more we would like to do with this room, but for now we’re liking it much more than what it started out as.

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Another room that we decided to repaint was the office. The original paint color in the office was a brownish tan color. I think it had originally been leftover paint from Matt’s parents, which was just easier to do in the beginning when almost every square inch of the house had to be painted. But after a while we wanted something a little more fun in there.

The office also served as a sort of man cave for a while. Before I was officially living in the house, Matt had the office all to himself and the only furniture in there was his desk, a small foldout couch from his college days that served as a dog bed, and some other random things.

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It served its purpose, but after moving in and living without any office space of my own for a while, we decided it should just be turned into an office that would work for both of us. The first thing we decided on was to have a custom two-person desk built, which we just painted white. Then we decided with a large white desk taking up one whole wall and plenty of natural light in the room, it was time to trade in the softer colors we had been using in the rest of the house and go with something bold.

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We chose the color “Plumage,” which I believe is Martha Stewart. It’s not entirely accurately represented in these photos – it’s a deep, rich teal color. And we love it. The white desk and white window and door trim looks fantastic against the dark color.

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Both the rooms still need more work, but changing the color for each is a decision we are still loving. In fact, it was so nice to see how much the right paint color can take a room to a whole new level, that I also immediately considered repainting the bathroom. But then I thought about how difficult that will be, considering I can’t take the furniture out to paint… Jury’s still out on that one.

Kitchen Ketchup

I would say forgive me for that pun in the title, but let’s be honest, I love puns. Even bad ones.

It’s safe to say the biggest project we’ve tackled in the house so far – and the most we’ve blogged about – is the kitchen. I realized that there were a few things in the kitchen that changed during the time I dropped the ball on blogging, so I figured I would play a little ketchup (alright, last one) and share the progress.

If you remember, the kitchen looked like this when we moved in:

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We lived with the kitchen this way until we were able to rip everything out and start from scratch. You can read more about that here, here, here, here, here, and here. (I told you we basically only blogged about the kitchen…)

And so we were left with this beautiful – albeit empty – kitchen:

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And are you ready to see where we’re at today?

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There are a few areas where we’ve added some new stuff – quite a few new counter-top appliances – and there are still a few more things we need to take care of, but it has definitely come a long way!

First, Matt and his brother added some white subway tile. We toyed around with the idea of adding some color in the tile, but ultimately I was afraid anything like that would become dated sooner, and really I just love the look of a clean, white kitchen (when it manages to stay clean that is…). We choose gray grout for a little contrast.

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The tile helps add a finished look to the kitchen – where before we just had white walls – and it’s much easier to keep clean than the plain walls were.

The other most noticeable step we’ve taken in the kitchen is to add the pegboard. We tossed a few ideas around for the blank wall, including open shelving, artwork, or painting it some color, but we settled on hanging up some pegboard to serve as both functional storage and an interesting visual.

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I chose a soft, buttery yellow color for the pegboard because I thought it went nicely with the blue on the other wall, was subtle enough to not completely overshadow the room, light enough to help keep the room bright and airy feeling, and sort of goes along with the vintage look I’d like to incorporate more of into the room. For now, we’ve added our most colorful or interesting looking items to the pegboard (Except for the pots and pans up top, that was pure function) and we’ve even added our spice rack. We were really excited about that since we wouldn’t have to drill more holes in the wall to mount it again. (We took it down when the tile went up and really didn’t want to drill through the tile to hang it up in the same place where it used to be.)

Finally, one smaller project I added to the kitchen was a DIY paint chip calendar. I’m pretty certain saw this on Pinterest (where else?). I got the paint chips from Home Depot and picked up a cheap frame from Michaels. This was actually a mistake – the frame came with a flimsy plastic insert instead of real glass, so dry-erase marker was really difficult to erase at the end of the month. Eventually I got a replacement piece of glass, also from Michaels, to swap out and it has since been much easier to write on and erase.

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I choose yellows, greens and greenish-blues for the colors I would use. I cut the paint chips into small squares, about 2″ x 2″, I believe, and then simply mounted them on the back of the paper that came in the frame using scotch tape. You could probably use some poster board or something else to mount the chips on, but it didn’t seem necessary. I left myself a little more room at the top than on the side and bottom so I would have room to write the month.

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Overall it was a pretty simple project that has proven to be really functional and beneficial.

So, that’s about where we are with the kitchen. We still have a blank spot above the calendar we’d like to fill, we need to choose a pendant light to hang above the sink and the door to the screen room will have to be repainted eventually, but we’re pretty happy with the way things are looking these days!

I also promise that we have made some other changes and upgrades outside of the kitchen – stay tuned.

Memory Jar, 2012 Edition

Happy New Year, readers! This year instead of coming up with any resolutions and looking forward, Matt and I took a little time on New Year’s Eve to look back. We did this with the help of a little DIY project I started over a year ago – a simple memory jar. I originally took this idea from YoungHouseLove, where I believe they do this during the month of November to keep track of what they are thankful for, but I modified the project a little and lengthened the time period to a full year.

The jar we used was a large mason jar that I spray painted white. It’s not perfect, and I had intended to paint some words on there, maybe with some chalkboard paint, but of course I never got around to it. In the end, the jar served it’s purpose anyway.

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So, for the past year Matt and I have been saving little mementos – ticket stubs, receipts, a score card from mini golf – or just jotting down random memories on scraps of paper and leaving them in the jar, which we placed out on our console table by the front door so it would always be within our view. Then, on New Year’s Eve came the best part – it was time to empty the jar and read through the last year.

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It doesn’t look like a lot here, but there was a good amount to read through.

Sifting through the memory jar was more fun than we both expected it to be. There were plenty of things we remembered clearly, and would have remembered without the memory jar, like watching our friend Irene run her first half marathon:

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Or the time we visited our friend Dustin for a weekend:

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But there were also some smaller things we may have forgotten if we hadn’t written them down and left them in the jar:

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Part of the fun was that each time we sifted through another item, we wanted to text someone and remind them of the memory too, as evidenced below.

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We’ve already decided to keep the jar out again this year and fill it with all the great things we’re hoping 2013 will bring, but as far saving this year’s items we decided to scrapbook them. I picked up a Smash Journal from Michael’s for half off and as soon as we choose some pictures from the past year, we’ll get those printed out and add them to the items from the jar. So far the memory jar has to be one of the easiest, cheapest, and still rewarding, projects we’ve done, and will hopefully continue to do.

What about you guys – any New Year’s traditions out there that go beyond the typical resolutions? Or are you super serious about resolutions and are among the few people who are able to work on them and keep them all year? (Although after looking through that memory jar I’m starting to think maybe I should make a resolution to improve my handwriting…)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

I know just about everyone says they are surprised by how quickly Christmas comes each year, but this year it really snuck up on me. Especially considering the fact that it’s a few short days away and I don’t feel ready at all.

I may not have all my presents wrapped yet – heck, I just finished shopping today – but I do have one thing in order… Christmas decorations! Let me start off by saying my favorite thing about our decorations this year: I hardly paid for anything. Everything else was either decorations we already had, something that was given to us, or something I made and was therefore cheaper than what the store-bought equivalent would have cost me.

Where to start? The tree of course! This is the second year we’ve gone out to cut down our own tree, and this is the first year it did not go so well. Let’s just say we spent a lot of time walking in circles and not agreeing on a tree. I have a really difficult time making decisions and I was literally a field of hundreds of potential trees. But in the end, we got a tree and everything worked out fine, so my indecisiveness was for no good reason, as usual.

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When it comes to choosing lights on the tree, I would really like all white lights one year, but Matt loves the multicolored lights. We compromised and the multicolored have gone on the tree, while the outdoor lights have stayed white. And in addition to the white icicle lights out front, we’ve got another pink feathered friend. We just keep taking in strays.


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Inside, things are a little more festive looking. Since I wasn’t planning on buying anything new this year, there’s nothing over the top. You guys should already know Awreatha…

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And just inside the doorway is probably the most festive part of the house – the frame wall. The frame wall is still probably one of my favorite parts of the house, and I love decorating it whenever I can. On Halloween I covered it in fake cobwebs, spiders and bats and switched a lot of the pictures out for more spooky images. I also filled a tall, skinny vase with some real mini pumpkins.

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For Christmas, I decided to tackle the frame wall again. This time I simply wrapped all the frames with wrapping paper I had picked up on clearance last year after the holidays were over.

wrapped wallI also filled the same vase with some ornaments I also picked up last year. Those three wine bottle are also decorations – they’re filled with strings of white Christmas lights. My intention was to also use ribbons and bows on the wrapped frames, but after I was done with the first step, I realized it was pretty festive as is and was just easier to leave it as is.

Over on the bookshelf are a few more other festive touches. I used some of the same ornaments in one of my thrift store bowls and in the frog votive holder. I also draped the garland around the large framed picture. Again, I was planning on trying to make it a little prettier, or something, but in the end I decided it looked fine as is.

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I also had some plans to make an advent calendar this year, buuuuut (are you sensing a theme here?) I went with something simpler. I just scribbled something on the chalkboard door and called it a day.

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And finally, something we did this year that I haven’t done in years was to build a gingerbread house. We used one of the kits you can buy, because if we’ve learned anything from this post so far, it’s that we’re doing things the easy way this year.

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So, with the Christmas decorations having been up for a while now, you would think I would have all my other Christmas stuff in order, but no. Gotta wait until the last minute!

How about everyone else – do you go minimal or all out when decorating? And are you all squared away for the holidays ahead of time, or do you wait until the last minute like me?

Every time a bell rings…

Besides reviving this blog, I’d also like to reboot it a little. The first time around, I thought I had to keep this blog strictly home-related. I didn’t really have any fun or personal posts. I’m gonna give those personal posts a go this time around and see how it goes.

So, I’m going to make the first non-house post about something I’m really excited about and a little proud of. I ran a 5K! If you know me at all, you know I’ve never been a runner. I half-heartedly played a few sports for most of my adolescent life, but even then I never would have considered myself as an athlete. And I would dread the days in gym class when we had to run the mile. Throughout college and the past few years I would sort of start a gym routine, or try out yoga or zumba, but they would never stick.

Then, after watching my best friend – who is amazing by the way – run a half marathon and seeing how awesome that was, I decided I wanted to try to stick to something for once.

I had also heard really good things about the C25K app. Now, after using this app for 9 weeks to work my way up to a 5k, I only have good things to say about it as well.

The app starts you out with a walk/run routine, so in the beginning you’re only running for a little bit and then walking to recover pretty frequently. As the weeks progress, you’re running more and walking less but you’ve eased into it. I never thought that within roughly two months time I would go from huffing and puffing after a few minutes to running a solid half hour without stopping. (Granted, I’m not very fast, but I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made so far.) In fact, the first day I ran 20 minutes straight without stopping (which may have been a first for me) I immediately went home and registered for a 5K.

And I am so glad I did.

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I did the It’s A Wonderful Run 5K in Seneca Falls. For anyone unaware, Seneca Falls is believed by some to be the town Bedford Falls (of It’s a Wonderful Life) was based on . So, each year the town holds a festival with events and shows and people dressed as characters from the movie walking around town. It’s basically the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

The run starts on the bridge in town – or the bridge George Bailey visits in the movie – heads through the some residential streets, and takes you right down main street right before you cross the finish line. Oh, and the run begins at dusk, so you can fully enjoy all the Christmas lights around town.

And BONUS! Irene and I whipped up some DIY race shirts to commemorate our first (hopefully not last!) race together.

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Originally we thought about making a shirt that would look like the rugby shirt George Bailey wears in the movie, but during a trip to Michaels to scope out what supplies we would need, we found these instead:

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We got our wings! These were simple iron-on decals that cost i think less than $5 each. The t-shirts were also pretty cheap, and the rest of the supplies were things I already had, so these shirts cost us less than $10 each. The absolute best part about that, though, was the fact that more than one person approached us to ask us where we had bought our shirts and to compliment them. To make them we just ironed the decals on the back and drew in the phrase “Every time a bell rings” on the front using stencils and sharpie markers.

The race itself was fantastic. I was nothing but nerves the day before and the day of the race, and probably stayed that way right up until the start. Definitely experienced some adrenaline though once I started running. I had never run with people before and suddenly I was surrounded by ~3,000 other runners, including tons of people dressed in costumes or other festive decorations. I’m pretty sure the adrenaline also helped my time because I crossed the finish line with a time of 28:50, which was a full minute faster than what I had been doing in the practice runs leading up to the race.

And I love the shirt the runners got too! Basically, everything about this race was awesome and I was on a high for the rest of the weekend.

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Overall, I can’t say enough positive things about this experience. If you’re thinking of running but don’t know where to start, use C25K! I seriously cannot recommend it enough. If you think this run sounded like fun, sign up for next year! I already can’t wait to do it again.

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Anyone else out there doing any runs lately? Any races out there you know of that are a must?

Awreatha Franklin

Yes, I named my Christmas wreath. Why? Because it’s an awesome name. Moving on.

Pinterest struck once again. And various blogs I follow. And basically everywhere else I looked online. I kept seeing adorable little homemade wreaths and decided it seemed like a simple enough project to tackle. Plus, it’s Christmas and our front door did need something added to it to make it a little more festive.

On a recent trip to Michaels I picked up a wreath… form? frame? I’m not even sure what it’s called, but I got one. I also grabbed a roll of red yarn and a sheet of green felt. Overall, with some coupons, I think all of this was less than $10.

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I started off by simply tying the yarn around the wreath form and gluing it into place a little bit so it wouldn’t slide around while I was working.

Then, I just started looping the yarn around the form. And around and around and around. I would suggest watching some TV or a movie while doing this part. I put on Love Actually to help get into the Christmas spirit.

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I stopped every once in a while to adjust the yarn and make sure it was coming out even. It was bunching a little in spots on the inside since there was less surface area to cover, but I like the way it looked so I didn’t fuss too much.

When I got to the end, I secured the yarn by tying it to the end I started with and gluing a little bit again for good measure.

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I really liked the plain red look, but I thought it was a little too plain, so I added some white yarn I found around the house. For this, I just very loosely looped it around the wreath diagonally, and then came back around the other way. I secured these the same way – a little bit of knotting, a little bit of glue.
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After that, I simply cut some holly leaves from the green felt, made some berries from some of the leftover red yarn (I did this by first knotting a piece, then just wrapping the yarn around itself and gluing the back the secure it). I didn’t have a wreath hook and didn’t feel like going out to buy one, so the Awreatha is support by a simple plastic 3M hook and some gift wrap ribbon. It’s not the prettiest solution, but it works.
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Overall, it’s a very simple wreath. And maybe a little amateur, but I like it. I like her, and that’s why I named her Awreatha Franklin. (Just wanted to say it again.)

And that little stencil is another cute, recent addition to the front door. That wasn’t a DIY in any way, Matt just found the stencil on Etsy and slapped it up in under 5 minutes. Probably the easiest and one of our favorites additions to the house.

Are you guys getting into the holiday spirit yet?! Any other holiday crafts out there?

Return of the blog and DIY wall art

First thing first, I’ve already admitted I’m terrible at blogging.

But, let’s try this again! I’d really like to keep this up, but letting it go almost a year without updating is ridiculous.

Things have not changed too drastically around these parts since the blog died off. We haven’t had any major renovations or anything like that, but we’ve done enough that I should have been more vigilant about keeping this thing alive. For some reason, keeping this blog – even though I barely did any work with it in the past – felt too cumbersome. Or too time-consuming, which is really ridiculous when I’m honest with myself. I was just being lazy for the past 6+ months.

Anyway, let’s try this again, and if anyone’s still reading… maybe it’ll be more successful this time.

Speaking of lazy and cumbersome, let’s start out with a project I undertook that I ended up really almost hating halfway through. It felt like it took forever. FOR-EV-ER. (Sandlot, anyone?) Realistically, I was just kind of being lazy about it (seeing the trend here?) and putting it off too much. I don’t even remember how long it took me. More than a month probably. Maybe a few. Whatever.

Anyway, I got the inspiration from Pinterest, of course, so maybe I have to say I got “pinspiration” or “pinspired.”  (Has anyone made a craft or cooked anything in the last year or so that didn’t come from Pinterest?)

(via Caring.com, found on Pinterest)

I was going to write up this blog post and leave a big ta-da! for the end. Like, “and guess what it’s made out of?!” But, I’m not really sure how to go about the rest of the post without just saying it up front – I made wall art from toilet papers rolls.

The best thing I found about making something out of toilet paper rolls is that it kind of makes it a conversation piece. Whenever someone asks about it or points it out, I immediately make them guess what it’s made out of. The cons of using toilet papers rolls? Pretty much everything else. Collecting used rolls, cutting up rolls, tediously gluing them together, painting them, gluing them again onto a canvas… Basically it’s a good thing I liked the way these turned out, or they would have immediately been used for kindling, simply out of pure rage.

 However, since it turned out successful, here’s a few simple steps toward toilet paper roll wall art, should you wish to increase your blood pressure as well:

Step 1: Start collecting toilet paper rolls. You’re going to need a bunch. To be fair, I didn’t have to do this too much. Once I mentioned I needed to start collecting these little guys, they started coming in from what seemed like every member of Matt’s extended family. And I’m pretty sure everyone thought I had sort of lost it, just collecting old garbage.

Step 2: Cut those suckers up. I neglected to take pictures of this project while in the process, so I’ll do my best to explain. Basically, squish the roll so it’s flat and then cut it into equally sized strips. Those strips will automatically open up into little petal shapes. Repeat this for what feels like an infinite number of times.

Step 3: Glue those suckers together at the points, forming a flower shape. Play around with the number of strips you use and the shapes you can create. I decided to try and get as much variation as possible. I would recommend using a glue gun for this. I used regular glue, and I have no idea why. This probably contributed to a lot of the rage.

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Step 4: Paint those suckers. I have no idea what would actually be the easiest way to do this. I used spray paint and was kind of annoyed at the number of coats I needed just to be able to get into all the little nooks and crannies without just soaking the things in paint the first time around. Overall, each flower probably only had a few coats at the most, but it felt like every time I looked at them, I found another spot that had been missed. Although I would wager painting them by hand wouldn’t be too fun either.

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Nooks and crannies galore.

Step 5: Glue those suckers to a canvas. This was my own step. I don’t remember if I had seen anything like this beforehand. Most examples I saw online, people had just glued the flowers to each other and then hung them on the wall or just created one giant flower. I had the canvases anyway, so I thought painting them gray and then gluing green, yellow and white flowers on top would help add some contrast against the blue walls in the living room.

Originally, I had bought the canvases with the idea of cutting card stock into petals and creating some kind of flower design that way. 15 minutes into that and I realized there was no way it was going to come out as clean and polished looking as I would want it to.

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And I’m thankful I came to my sense early on and ended up with this instead:

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Admittedly, they are a little too small for the spaces they are in currently, but it’s better than nothing on the walls. Which is exactly what we had before. So, for now, they’re just fine.

Whew! And with that, we’re back up and running with this whole blogging thing. Is anyone still out there?

Green(ish) thumbs

Hello! Although it may have seemed like it, I have not forgotten that this blog exists. (I’m going to let you in on a little secret though – I’m a really bad blogger. Somewhere there is a blog graveyard of mine where a fair amount of blogs have gone to die. Or do whatever blogs do I guess.)

But I’m back, and with quite a bit to share. Since the kitchen no longer occupies all of our time, we of course had to look for another project to dump our time and money into. Enter: landscaping. And all things plants and growing and all that good stuff.

We started with the front of the house. When we first moved in the front had some garden beds, but they were overgrown and overall just looking kind of crappy. We tore everything out and were left with something that looked like this:

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It’s finished (kind of) and we’re exciiited!

Alright you guys, we have a kitchen! Are you ready to check it out?

Well, first we’re gonna go back and reflect on what the kitchen used to look like.

Yes, lovely hunter green walls. And you see that little spot on the bottom shelf that’s empty right now? In between the microwave and stove? That was exactly how much counterspace we had. Which led to a lot of cursing anytime someone (I) was cooking.

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Kitchen sneak peeks

Well, the kitchen is still coming along. We feel like we keep hitting little snags at every step, but there’s no doubt that it’s really coming together now. It’ll be a little longer until it’s completely finished, but when we look back we’ll probably realize how quickly it all got done.

Here’s what it looked like a little earlier this week:

That’s even more cabinets on the walls! And base cabinets! It’s like a real kitchen!

 


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