Step It Up

I haven’t blogged in about 10 million years.  Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  So here’s a quickie–a little update I did that took two naps to complete, so about 4 hours for a regular person (that’s just for the vinyl sticker application; the rest of the steps were slowly completed over the past three years).  First, where we started when we bought the house:

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And where we are today, after stripping the carpet, painting the doors and trim, painting the stairwell and upstairs landing, and adding some chevron-tastic details:

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Big difference, huh?  The chevrons aren’t painted on (I don’t have that kind of patience or time these days, and I also didn’t want something that would take a lot of effort to remove if I didn’t like it); instead, they’re vinyl stickers from here.  Yep, Pot & Kettle Studios made them custom to fit my risers, and they were super easy to install.  And when I’m sick of them, they’ll be super easy to peel off.

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Here’s a shot of them in black from their etsy shop:

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So there you have it–proof that we’re still alive and still making some changes around here . . .

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Ruby Slippers

Everyone keeps asking when we’re going to get her a dog.

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And no one ever likes the answer, which is usually some form of “Never!” but in a much more polite way.  It’s not that we don’t love dogs (because we do), it’s just that it isn’t right for our family right now.  See how politely I did that?  But with the occasional doggie visitor, and all our neighbors, she seems to be managing just fine without one of her own.

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Although I have to admit that this is pretty cute.

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Or is it just the footwear that’s pulling on my heart strings?

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Thanks for visiting Ruby!

UPDATED: 2013 Goals

So I made the bold move to put my 2013 goals in writing, so now it’s time to face the music.  This could be really depressing, but let’s dive in . . .

  • Paint the fireplace.   STILL NOT DONE.  I need courage folks–tell me to do it.  Tell me it will look amazing.  I’ve been trying to muster my courage by scouring Pinterest for similar makeovers, but I haven’t found anything.  However, I did determine that it’s a lannon stone fireplace, which led me to this beautiful image (from here):

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So what do you think?  Any suggestions to somehow handle this beast?

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  • Hang new lights in the kitchen.  DONE.  You can just barely see the new ceiling light in the reflection below.

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  • Create better organization in our entryway.  DONE and detailed here and here.  Update: this has still been working out pretty great, especially with the cart as a catch-all.

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  • Hang artwork/pictures.  Partly done, but still a long way off.

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  • Get a vintage sideboard for the dining room.  NOT DONE, and I’ve changed my mind slightly.  I need a piece that’s less than 12″ deep so that it doesn’t crowd that side of our dining room table, so I’m thinking of having something custom made.  Need to get on that already.
  • Get new dining room chairs.  DONE.  Mini Bunches is a big fan, and so are we.  These aren’t as tip-prone as our old ones.  

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  • Style the family room built-ins.  DONE.  SORT OF.  I THINK.  MAYBE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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  • Paint the master bathroom.  DONE. No pictures yet, but once I get some new lights, then I’ll share.  
  • Get window treatments for the master bath, guest bath, guest room, and Mr. B’s office.  Three out of four ain’t bad, right?
  • Finish painting all the trim in the house.  NOT DONE.  I don’t know if this will ever be done.  There’s just. so. much. trim.  But I made some progress.  So that’s something right.  Plus, I decided to paint all the doors in the house, and I’ve gotten through about 60% of them.  Now to just knock out the remaining 40%.  And then change all the hinges and doorknobs.  Oy vey.  Eventually, each door will look like this:

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  • Unpack our remaining boxes in the basement.  NOT DONE.  But progress has been made.  Once we have a garage sale this spring, I think we’ll be in better shape.
  • Paint our master bedroom.  NOT DONE.
  • Paint the upstairs hallway.  NOT DONE.
  • Paint the guest room.  Partially DONE.  I forgot to paint under the desk, and I’ve also decided that I need to paint the soffit.
  • Paint Mr. B’s office.   NOT DONE.
  • Paint the guest bath.  NOT DONE, but I did get all the trim painted in there, so that’s something, right? 
  • Take more pictures.  Especially ones with a little twist.  And get them edited/posted in a somewhat timely basis.  We all knew this was going to be a fail, right?  I had less than 15 posts in 2013.  But I had so much fun with Mini B, that I’m going to forgive myself.

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Well, the report card’s in, and I’m going to score it a C+.  And I’m going to refrain from doing a 2014 goals post I think, especially since there are so many 2013 goals that still need to be completed.  So I shall carry on, and maybe my 2013 goals will be finished sometime in this decade.  Fingers crossed!

Pack it up Pachysandra!

Remember when our house looked like this?

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And then how it looked like this:

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Well, while all that sunken concrete and overgrown Pachysandra may do it for some of you, it didn’t really hit the mark for us.  So we finally hired us some landscapers and got our curb appeal on!

It was amazing how much they accomplished in only three days (we had a different contractor replace the limestone steps and take out the iron scrollwork a few weeks earlier–since that post is pressure-treated wood, we were told it has to stay uncovered for a season, but then we plan to paint it or vinyl wrap it) . . .

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And to really see the difference, here are some side-by-side comparisons:

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Of course, now that it’s been a few weeks and our grass has grown back in, things are really looking better.  I wanted a lot of color, and next spring we should be able to see it (we’ve got hydrangeas, lilies, peonies, dogwood, cherry trees, etc. so there should be lots of blooms).  It’s not perfect, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.

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Mini B gives it her stamp of approval.  What do you think?

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Mini Bunches: 1 Year

It’s three months overdue, but finally here it is: a celebration of Mini Bunches’ first birthday!!

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Don’t expect any Pinterest-worthy pictures here.  We didn’t go overboard for the party, nor was there any super cohesive theme.  The most cohesive thing would have to be the flag bunting.  Remember how I made her invitations?

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Well, I tried to carry the flag theme through as best I could.  I bought a bunch of vintage sheets and made some fabric bunting (I used this free tutorial).  I wanted something really girly for Mini B, and I think this fit the bill.  Plus, it’s something that she could possibly decorate her big girl room with some day.

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I made a bunch of different sizes, and put them up all over the house.

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Besides that, the decorations were minimal.  Some balloons strewn all over, and some new picture additions to the house.

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Those are all printed Instagrams (I used MPix to print them–great quality and they have an app, so you can upload files right from your phone), and I used a hot glue gun to stick them to the door (just a tip–be generous with the glue or else they’ll come down after a couple weeks).  I put them up in chronological order.  My plan is to completely cover the door.

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And then I did a little artwork on the chalkboard pantry doors, and put up all of Mini B’s monthly pictures.

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Now that we’ve covered the decorations/theme (or lack thereof), let’s get to what really matters about such occasions–the family and friends that really make it special.  Mini B lucked out on her first birthday–so many close family and friends made the trip to celebrate with her.  Just look who she got to wake up with . . .

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That’s right–it’s Mr. Squishy!!!  He came out for Mini B’s big day.    So not only did she get to wake up to that smiling face, but she also was rocking some awesome birthday hair.

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All of Mini B’s grandparents made the trip.  I don’t know what they liked more–playing with B or comparing who had the cutest pictures of B.

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She had a great time at her party, even though the weather didn’t exactly cooperate.  Our outdoor cookout turned into an indoor feast thanks to some drizzly rain.

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But we did sneak outside for a quick family photo shoot.

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Mini B loved that everyone sang Happy Birthday to her.  So much so that we ended up doing it twice.

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And then it was time for the moment we’d been waiting for–the SMASH cake!  I wanted to make her cake myself, so I used a low-sugar recipe for the cake (from here), and then just made regular cream cheese frosting (since she loves cream cheese).  I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t notice that ragged edge without icing–it’s in all the pictures.  Ugh.  When I made Mr. Squishy’s smash cake a few weeks ago, it came out much better.  Oh well.

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We had high hopes for what might happen when the entire thing was placed in front of her.

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That might have been her only taste.  After that she was more interested in feeding it to Mama and Dada.

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Things progressed pretty slowly.  I felt badly for our guests.  Can you tell which ones of these are family?  I’ll give you a hint . . . ahem-iPhones-ahem.

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We tried helping her along with a fork, but she just wasn’t digging how the icing felt on her hands (she was having a diva moment).

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In the end I think more ended up on her chair than on her.

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All in all, it was a great day.  Thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to all the friends and family who couldn’t make it but sent along lots of well-wishes.  B’s favorite part, besides the singing, was seeing so many new, fun people.  And also opening their gifts, haha.

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Happy Birthday Mini Bunches.  I love you.  Best year of my life.

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Mapping my Drawers

That post title could go in a few different directions, but let’s head down the G-rated path, shall we?  Remember this from a few weeks ago:

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Well, what I didn’t tell you then was that not only did I refinish the outside of the desk, but I also added a little special touch to the inside . . .

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I added personalized drawer liners using some spray adhesive and Mod Podge.  Fun, eh?  It only took me maybe a couple hours of Mini B’s naptime, and it was nice to finally use the maps I had been hanging onto from our honeymoon in Spain.  How did I do it?  Easily.

I first made some templates with plain copy paper of the exact drawer dimensions.  Then I laid those out on the maps (which I lightly, and I do mean LIGHTLY, ironed to get out the wrinkles), and used a ruler and exacto knife to cut the maps down to size . . .

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I tried to make sure the maps were aligned so as to include areas Mr. Bunches and I visited in our travels.  Once they were all cut, I then just used some spray adhesive (sprayed onto the backs of the maps–NOT sprayed directly on the drawers) and smoothed the maps in place on the bottom of each drawer.  I used a bone folder to make sure there weren’t any wrinkles and that everything was all smoothness.

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Because the maps were made of such thin paper, there were spots, particularly in the water sections of the maps, where you could kind of see the glue.  But it was minimal.  I let the glue dry for a few hours (with heavy books laying on top) just to make sure it was all good and set.  Then I used a foam brush to apply a light coat of Matte Mod Podge on the tops of the maps (just so they would be extra durable).  As I had been warned by YHL commenters on this post, I was prepared for the inevitable bubbling that the Mod Podge would (and did) cause:

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What had been smooth was now a wrinkly mess.  But no fear, I knew that once the Mod Podge dried, all would be smooth in my drawers again (still keeping it G-rated folks) . . .

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And there you have it.  Just a few hours of drying time (overnight actually), and voila!

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And since it’s been almost a month since initiating our new entry way solution, I’m happy to report that it’s been a success!  We got our cart in, and it’s been working out great.

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Fingers crossed that it continues working out well and wrangling in our mess.  And just because, here’s a shot of Mini Bunches on her recent trip to the beach in Florida (more on that soon I hope) . . .

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Mini B is Famous!

That’s right–she’s a star!  Er, well, if you define fame as being featured on a pretty popular blog.  What–did you think I was going to say she was in a movie or something?  Puh-leeze.  That’s for next year ;).

Mini B’s nursery was featured in the Before & After section on Apartment Therapy Friday!  Check it out here.  I was so excited that I actually took a picture of the site on my phone (I know–I’m a full on geek) . . .

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I have no idea how it happened–I didn’t submit it or anything.  Total happy surprise to me.  :)  So thank you Apartment Therapy for stumbling across Mini B’s humble little nursery–she is really quite touched by the praise.

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Oh, and if you want to see the actual post about Mini B’s nursery, just click here.  If you want to see an even amazinger nursery (yep, just making words up today), check out her cousin’s digs here.

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