7.31.2013

#3

Today the husband and I are celebrating three years of wedded bliss. We were high school sweethearts, so we'd actually been together for seven years before we officially tied the knot. There were a lot of "Finally!" messages in our wedding cards.

On the day of the wedding, I tried my best to soak in every single moment. Many things went wrong, but nothing could bring me down from cloud 9. "The power is out at the reception venue? Who cares, we have a lot of candles!" (It came back on 10 minutes before we arrived– phew.)

It was easily the best day of my life! (And to think, I didn't even have Pinterest yet.)



I didn't want him to see me before the ceremony, so we chose to take "bridals" together the day after the ceremony. Our lovely photographer, Kendall Jessup, had about 30 minutes to take these pictures of us at White Sands National Monument before the sun went down. She did a fabulous job, and I will treasure these photos forever. 

Since we already went on a little anniversary trip, today's celebration will be a low-key dinner together at a new pizza place we've been wanting to try. Plus the husband is officially back to work tomorrow (football season is here!) so we're squeezing in every last bit of together time before he starts working really long hours. 

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods! 

* Three years and counting *

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7.29.2013

Third Anniversary Gift Ideas (Leather)

We are celebrating our third wedding anniversary this week! The traditional gift for the third anniversary is leather, so I rounded up some different gift ideas with that material. Turns out there are a lot of options for both sexes, and tons of different price points. It's probably one of the easier anniversary materials to work with!

3rd Anniversary Gifts: Leather


Meanwhile, we just returned from an awesome trip to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. We survived a harrowing canoe trip (two-person canoe + white water rapids = man overboard- twice!), ate some delicious food, took in the beautiful scenery with a few hikes and just generally enjoyed ourselves.

This was our first time staying at a bed and breakfast, which I was a little nervous about. I pictured communal meals and overbearing hostesses– just a general lack of privacy compared to staying in a hotel. However, we ended up loving the B&B experience and would totally do it again! We highly recommend Lago Vista B&B if you're ever in the Broken Bow area. With no children allowed, it's the perfect spot for a couples getaway.


Did you have a nice weekend?

* Back to Reality *
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7.26.2013

Randoms & Happy Weekend

We're rolling down the highway today, taking a little anniversary getaway to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I never thought of Oklahoma as a very romantic destination, but I saw pictures like this and thought the husband and I were due for an outdoorsy adventure!


There will be kayaking and I am very excited about it!

I know I've been talking about this mega closet project for some time now, and the husband is still working hard on it. It's a very detailed project and he is Mr. Meticulous, so it's taking a lot of time. He's never done anything like this before so there is quite a bit of research involved, watching YouTube videos and teaching himself how to be a carpenter. I think he is a miracle worker– I would have given up the second I had to calculate the angle of the ceiling. Yuck.

Every bit of progress makes us that much more excited about the finished product. It started with the "shell" of the closet, which was probably step #27 of 432 (ha ha... but really).


Then he added the doors, which looked a million times better because you couldn't see the clothes and shoes inside.  It was starting to come together!


Now he's in the process of adding the trim to the doors, which makes me positively gleeful. How great does that look?!


In case you missed my master bedroom inspiration post earlier this week, the plan is to paint the built-ins white and go with a medium shade of grey on the walls. Right now it's all a bit yellow because the walls are yellow and the MDF is beige. No bueno. Can't wait to paint!

***

Are you an Emily Henderson fan? If not, you should be! She's hilarious and her blog is filled with great styling tips for the ultimate "collected over time" home. She posted about 14 most popular posts all time this week, so it's a great time to get the cliffnotes version of her blog. I read "Martha & Mormons: Why There Are So Many Mormon Bloggers" with interest because I've always asked myself that same question. I'm not Mormon so I don't really know if her points are valid, but it was a good read all the same.

***

Check out my latest thrifting finds! (Or follow my thrifting adventures on Instagram- @JordanG106.)

$12 gold task lamp


$20 barstools


$5 owl vase


$8 for 8 glasses with MY monogram! What are the odds?

 ***

Two of my favorite DIY-extraordinaire bloggers posted about their favorite gold spray paint this week. Jenny of Little Green Notebook prefers Design Master in Gold Metal, and Erin of House of Earnest loves Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold. I actually have a gold spray paint project coming up so I'm going to have to test these out and chime in on the debate...

***

My foot's asleep, so I'm going to take that as a sign that I'm officially done with this post.
 
Have fun this weekend!

* Out of Office: Road Trip! *

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7.23.2013

Master Bedroom Inspiration

Our master bedroom is such a mess right now. It's been in a state of flux ever since we moved in because there isn't really enough storage for us. There's a piece of luggage here, a stack of shoes there, a bag of socks propped against the wall. This storage deficiency is exactly why we decided to build a custom wardrobe closet along one wall. While the husband continues to build the closets, I decided to start thinking about how I want to decorate this room.

Master Bedroom Inspiration


The wall of closets will be white, so I want to go with a darker color for the rest of the room. I'm thinking about using the same color- Galveston Gray by Benjamin Moore– that we used in our den. This room doesn't get good natural light at all, so I figure I will embrace the darkness and just make it a cozy sleeping cave.

To balance the darker walls, I want primarily white bedding on top of a classic upholstered bed. Of course we don't have the upholstered bed yet– just a simple white headboard from Target– but if you've been following this blog for a while you know that I've been looking for one for several months now. Maybe one day I will break down and splurge on a nice bed! (Right now my wallet says no, unfortunately.)

For accent colors, I'm thinking about navy and ochre/mustard/gold. I'm hoping that will create a nice masculine/feminine balance that will please us both. I want to mix in a bunch of different materials and textures like brass, chrome, weathered wood, plaster, etc. so that the room is interesting. Of course it's a little tricky to mix everything together like that, so we'll see how it turns out.

What have you been dreaming up lately? Is anyone else forced to make imaginary inspiration boards while their wallet recovers from an expensive summer?

* Daydream Believer *



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7.21.2013

When Pigeons Fly: DIY Origami Bird Mobile

Right now we have pigeons flying in our living room! I promise it's not as weird as it sounds...


When decorating our formal living room, I wanted to figure out a way to emphasize the high ceilings. The first thing that came to mind was hanging some sort of sculpture from the ceiling. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was spending my Friday night making origami pigeons.


A friend of ours asked me, "How did you come up with that idea?" Honestly, I have no idea. I remember explaining my vision to the husband, and he looked at me like I had two heads! He could not picture it at all. I even made this little sketch for him, but he was still very skeptical.


I assured him he would like it when I was done, so he let me alone to do my thing. (Smart man.)

The first step was to make some origami birds. I didn't know how to do it, so I turned to my trusty friend Google and found this website. I liked the origami pigeon pattern the best, so that's the one I went with.

Using some white cardstock I had left over from another project, I made 20 paper pigeons. It's not too complicated, and it's a pretty relaxing thing to do while you watch TV. I used an Exacto knife to cut a tiny slit in the top of each bird so we could tie it to the fishing line.

Then I went out into the garage to find something we could use to hang the birds. It was my plan all along to use fishing line to hang the birds, but I had no idea what I would tie them to. I ended up finding this piece of trim in the garage that was exactly the length of our sofa, so we didn't even have to cut it to size. I love it when things work out that nicely! I painted it white so that it would blend in well with our ceiling.

I quickly figured out that I could stretch the piece of wood from counter to counter in the kitchen, giving me the perfect set up to tie the pigeons to the trim piece. In another convenient twist, the distance from floor to counter was exactly the distance between the top mirror and the ceiling, so I knew that if I hung the pigeons at any length between the wood piece and the kitchen floor, it would also be the right distance when hung from the ceiling. YES.


I just eyeballed the location of each paper bird because I wanted them to look random, but also balanced. The string attached to each bird was simply tied around the wood piece, so that step was a piece of cake.

Once the mobile was created, it was time to hang it up. I had to get the husband involved for this part. He found the studs in the ceiling and used his electric drill to screw the wood piece into the ceiling studs. Now the birds were really flying!


Of course, the best part is always stepping back to admire the finished product.


Because I had all of these items on hand, I was able to create this modern art piece for free. I love free, don't you? I also get really excited about the fact that our living room has a unique piece of art that no one else can buy!

So what do you think about our pigeons? They bring a smile to my face every time I walk by, and they catch everyone's eye right when they walk in the house. You may think I'm a nut for putting this in my living room; if so, this project would be really easy to reinterpret in a nursery or child's room if you're against hanging it in a main living space.

And if you're interested in another free wall art project made out of paper, check out my wall flowers here and here. I have some wall flowers up in my office right now– white cardstock is my best friend!

* Sunday Funday *

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7.17.2013

In Progress: Formal Living Room

We've been plugging along on the formal living room for a few weeks now so I figured it was time to share it on the blog! I wouldn't consider this room a finished product by any means, but it's at a point where I'm not embarrassed to have people over. I consider that a big success since we haven't even been in this home for two months. Now we can take our time to find the final touches and not rush into impulse purchases, which is exactly how I like to decorate.

Like the rest of our main living spaces, this room got a paint job before we even moved in. A fresh coat of Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore gave us a neutral space, so I could go any way I wanted with the colors. It was the perfect spot for our West Elm rug, so I used that as a jumping off point.


As a reference point, here's the room when we first toured the house:


This room is in the center of the house so it doesn't have any windows. The only light source was a very dim ceiling fan in the center of the room. Considering our home is almost completely shaded by trees, this particular room really needed more light.

To solve this problem, we recruited our friend who works with Scott. He does electrical work on the side and was willing to help us install more lighting in this room. (We worked out a trade where he will take that giant play set in our backyard in exchange for helping us- everybody wins!)

We added four new pot lights in the corners of the room that made a world of difference right away. Suddenly the room was bright and spacious! Then we brought in some ambient lighting and a little extra sparkle with some crystal sconces on either side of the french doors leading to the office/studio. The best part about the sconces is that they were free– a generous hand-me-down from my mom. I love it when she gives me stuff she isn't using!


So we started with our West Elm Ikat Links rug (one of my favorite outlet purchases ever) and added the Rooms to Go sofa about a month ago. Things always look better in threes, so I hung three mirrors above the sofa. The middle one was a bargain from the Wisteria warehouse sale, and I bought the other two recently from the sale rack at Target. How great is Target's Threshold line? I want everything!

That ceiling space above the mirrors looked empty, and I found myself cursing the lovely high ceilings in this room. Instead of resenting them, I decided to draw the eye up and emphasize the height of the walls with a DIY art sculpture made of origami birds. Let me tell you, the husband was skeptical about my idea. It's like a nursery mobile made for adults! I LOVE it.  I'm working on a detailed post about that project, so stay tuned for that.


We didn't have any side tables, so I used two of my thrifted crates. That's a makeshift, temporary solution until we find some real side tables, but they work surprisingly well. The finish of the wood crates ties in well with the mirrors above the sofa. Another fun thrift store find in this room is our coffee table. I like how it picks up the silver of the nail heads on the couch and the frame of the center mirror. The stainless steel finish of the trunk shows every little fingerprint, but that's OK since this is the formal living room and we don't hang out in here that much.

I'm still in love with one of my most tedious pieces of artwork ever, the pear painting. I'm happy that it is one of the first things you see when you open the front door! We have it sitting on top of a hand-me-down dresser from my grandparents that has been stripped of its shiny 1980s finish and still needs new hardware.


Check out my vintage brass recliners! I picked up these extremely heavy Barcaloungers at the thrift store for $40 each. Yes, the condition is a little rough. We're still deciding if we want to sink some cash into these for reupholstering and tightening up the reclining part. Right now the footrest sags a little bit. I'm pretty in love with them but the husband doesn't want to spend a fortune to bring them back to life, so right now they are sitting pretty until we make a decision. On top of the chest sits a mercury glass lamp from HomeGoods and a glass dome from the thrift store, along with our wedding album. Those pillows on the recliners came with the new sofa!

Over in the corner is our little West Elm desk, my doodle chair and a $7 thrifted mirror. I added a plant, some photos and the little Wisteria horse to make it a bit more interesting.


Well, I think that covers it! Do you like how it's coming together? I think this room will continue to evolve over time but I like where it's going!

* Dinner Time *

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7.15.2013

Nice Appliances on a Budget

When we moved into the new house, the kitchen had three white appliances (refrigerator, range, microwave) and one with a stainless steel finish (dishwasher). We figured we would want to convert them all to stainless steel down the line, so one of the things we did when we were moving was bring our stainless steel Samsung refrigerator with us and place the existing white refrigerator in our old house, which we are using as a rental property.

Let me tell you, switching the refrigerators was a massive hassle because neither one could fit through the doors. We got the stainless one out the doors at the old house only to have it not fit through the gate of the fence, which wasn't even built when we bought that appliance. One of many reasons why moving is not fun!


I thought the husband was going to blow a gasket during the Great Refrigerator Crisis of 2013, but eventually he got both appliances installed in the houses. That left us with two white appliances and two stainless appliances in our new house. I took this picture during our initial viewing of the house, and you can get a peek at the white microwave and range we wanted to replace.



When it comes to appliances, we simply do not like to pay full price. Actually, we don't really like to pay full price for anything! Through some patience and perseverance, we were able to save $957 on a new Samsung range and microwave for our kitchen! Here's how we did it:



The way we like to shop for appliances is to look for what we call "open box specials." Those are appliances that are discounted for any one of a number of different reasons. Some are returned to the store by people who changed their mind, and others are floor models. Some have been damaged during the shipping process and others have had to be refurbished to fix a flaw. When it comes to open box specials, I am not comfortable with buying one that is refurbished. It makes me worried that it might break and cost us a lot of money for repairs. We are fine with buying returns, floor models and other open box classifications that indicate there is absolutely nothing wrong with how the appliance works. Update: The husband would like me to emphasize that we only buy the Open Box items if they still come with the warranty.

We bought all of our appliances at house #1 with this method and figured we could do it again with this house. We have the best luck with open box specials at Lowe's for some reason. It always seems like between Lowe's and Home Depot, Lowe's has more appliances out in the aisle that are classified as open box specials. One weekend we spent the majority of our Saturday visiting as many Lowe's stores in our area as we could, looking for a nice, discounted microwave and range.

The husband had actually had his eye on this microwave for some time. It had been in the open box section at our Lowe's for more than a month, so we knew they would probably be willing to negotiate and give us a better price. Don't be afraid to ask for a bigger discount than what's on the price tag because the manager is definitely allowed to negotiate the prices on open box specials!

The microwave had a small dent on the right side which we knew would be completely covered up by our kitchen cabinets when installed. Who cares about a dent that no one will ever see?! Originally $399, the manager was kind enough to let us have this Samsung dented microwave for only $175. Our appliance shopping day was off to a great start!

The hunt for the range continued long into the day. I think it's much more likely to find micrwoaves and refrigerators in the "as is" section, so we weren't finding any deals on a stainless range. Finally we stumbled upon this Samsung range at a local store. Like the microwave, its only problem was that it had a dent on the side. Knowing that would also be covered up by cabinets when installed, we didn't care about the dent at all. Originally $1,199, the range was only marked down to $1,079. We were not impressed with the discount, but the manager told us that the range had just arrived the day prior and he wasn't willing to come down on the price yet (even after I told him that it was selling brand new and undamaged at Best Buy for the same price).

This is where the patience part kicks in. The husband really wanted this particular range, but he wanted to pay $850 or less. We just kept coming back to that same Lowe's and asking whether they were willing to come down on the price. I'm sure that manager was getting a bit annoyed with us, but hey– the feeling was mutual! Our philosophy: We're not going to pay retail price for a dented, as-is item! We'll just wait until you're willing to come down. The manager told us he had the same range and paid a higher price for it himself, so we think that was working against us. He didn't want to give it to us for less than what he paid for it. At least, that was our theory.

So we came back. And came back again. And each time they moved on the price about $30. Not enough for our taste. I probably would have given up by then, but Scott was determined to buy this particular range. There is really no stopping that stubborn boy when he digs in his heels about something!

Finally we went to the Lowe's when there was a different manager who was more eager to get rid of his open box items. He ended up selling it to us for $742!

So at this point we had saved $682 from the original prices just because there were some small dents on the side that no one would ever see. How did we end up with a total of $957 off the total bill? Well, we took the perfectly good white microwave and range and sold them on Craigslist for $275. Once you subtract that from the total we spent on the new appliances, we ended up with some very nice appliances for $957 less than we would have paid if we didn't shop the "as-is" aisle.

Now the main question is: Do you think we're crazy? Stubborn? Weird? All of the above?

* Painless Stainless *





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