Monday, March 30, 2015

Picture This: Week 13, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

March 23, 2015

We took the day off to volunteer at the Cleveland Foodbank as part of our date days. Neither of us had ever volunteered at a food bank, and it was a very impressive operation. The center acts as a warehouse and distribution plant, packaging food in usable forms for soup kitchens, school lunches, and mobile pantries.  Also we couldn't take pictures in the kitchen, so this is our sunny selfie. 

March 24, 2015

We went to a panel discussion on Etsy. I'm a step closer to opening a shop - but still need to narrow down a focus.

March 25, 2015

The kitchen chugs along at a steady pace. 

March 26, 2015

I was in DC for one night this week. It's pretty fitting that I forgot to take a proper picture and just have a dark picture of happy hour. 

March 27, 2015

Flight delays, rerouting, and jumper planes. 

March 28, 2015

Zach and Alex conspired to surprise me with a day of wineries. So excited to finally have her for a visit! 

March 29, 2015

Charlotte's duck face game is so strong. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bench baskets.

Apart from the general wonky nuances I'm sure every homeowner finds (why is the light switch behind the door?), my biggest lament about our house would be its lack of coat storage. It's Ohio.  Coats are necessary roughly fifty percent of the year. However, a coat closet isn't in immediate proximity of either entrance - front or garage.  The closest is what we've converted to a pantry with the sliding barn door.  It's baffling though - I would also consider attached garages necessary for the same reason, but a surprising number do not exist.  

We tried a couple options before heading down our current path. We tried using the middle closet as a coat closet, but walking into the middle of the house with snow boats and coats wasn't practical or in the best interest of our wood floors. We tried moving everything to the garage, but that wasn't practical for guests and not ideal in the colder months. We've started a hybrid.  Zach and I mainly use the garage, so on the wall immediately adjacent and heading to the downstairs, we have hooks for our coats. We mainly leave our shoes in the garage, but have a rug down in the event we bring them within.  On the next wall, the dining room wall, we have a bench, specifically the piano bench that was left in the house.  Underneath, we have two baskets that hold our hats, scarves, gloves, and the occasional shoe. 

I always knew I wanted these to be wire baskets. I had a really hard time finding such baskets for the dimensions and price I was willing to spend, so I gave up after a couple months. I grabbed two woven baskets at TJ Maxx.

They fit all of the criteria except for the depth, which I had forgotten to measure and consider anyway.  It was also just before Thanksgiving, which we were hosting, and needed to do something. 

I cheated the obvious disparity by pulling the bench off the wall and sitting pillows in the gap. It was fine.  Then I found what I always wanted at Target.

At first, there was only one. Target's tricky like that. Online, I wasn't able to buy and ship it (which I wouldn't have wanted to do anyway - I'm spoiled by Amazon fast and free shipping), but I did find one in a different store. I bought it online and went to pick it up, afraid that if I didn't it wouldn't actually exist when I got there. I have real trust issues with Target, but I keep going back for more.

It looks so much better. I was worried about the wire scratching the floors, but I added four little sticky pads to the bottom and they haven't fallen off/the floor hasn't been scratched. It seems to be going well. 

The other baskets are going to be repurposed under a bench we're going to build by the front door. That'll be the bench guests can sit on when putting their shoes on and serve as overflow storage. 

I realize this will take a bit of envisioning. One day, the door will even have casing and there will be crown molding. It'll be a picturesque spot to slip on your shoes.

The real star of this scene is the coat rack.  Previously, the Mikrut sign, a generous gift from my friend for our wedding shower, hung next to the door above five paint swatches. I would give you a reference for it because we get so many compliments on it, but I searched for weeks to get one for her before her shower, and I struck out. I was in the market for a standing coat rack until my mum made a pallet Christmas sign. It was the perfect backdrop for the Mikrut wire sign, without the green and red. She staggered pallets (heat-treated, of course) and added black elbow pipes for coats.  I applied a coat of teak oil to help preserve the pallets, which also darkened and made it look a bit richer (we experienced shrinking and drying in the pallet door).

Maybe we'll get a light switch plate some day, too. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Picture This: Week 12, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

March 16, 2015

It's finally warm enough for the cats to strategize on the stoop and for Henry to go outside.

March 17, 2015

The living room is painted! It took me so long to muster the energy for painting, and I'm sorry I didn't do it earlier. It makes everything in the room look better, including the top of the bookcase - it's like an automatic vignette! 

March 18, 2015

The wild animals are so happy to see the sunshine.

March 19, 2015

More details on the entryway and this fantastic pallet coat hook designed and made by my mum to come. I'm still marveling at how one wall color, and maybe specifically this one, looks so much better than swatches.  It's really not earth-shattering, I realize.

March 20, 2015

This shirt is everything. 

March 21, 2015

I'm best friends with my cousin's baby. Miss him already. 

March 22, 2015

I know I'm a lucky girl when in addition to gathering some cool wood planks and stumps from Grandpa's shed, I get some of his cookies. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Magic Mirrors.

For several months, I had the simplest plan to make a floor mirror that wouldn't cost more than $20. I'll assume you're not well-versed in the price of floor mirrors because it's a fairly boring subject, and let you know that they're expensive.  The affordable ones have terrible reviews, by and large, and the expensive ones are hundreds of dollars. I didn't want to pay hundreds of dollars on a mirror, particularly with my penchant for breaking things, so we went about making one. And I broke two mirrors in the process. I wasn't kidding. 

We picked up simple, dorm-room, $5 mirrors, from Lowes, Walmart and Target, respectively, in this process.  I broke the first mirror before I could carefully free the glass from its plastic trim.  The second mirror made it free and was glued to a frame we made out of 1x6 pieces of wood stained a dark walnut and our favorite keg jig.  It made it to the glue stage before I cracked it. The third survived, but this is the result - 

It's a funhouse mirror. We made a beautifully framed funhouse mirror. 

At this point, we're throwing in the towel. We're not meant to make mirrors.  The intent was to include this in the guest room, but our guests have enough insults from the cats throwing themselves at the door in an effort to get inside and stare at the people that we can't subject them to a funhouse mirror as well. The hunt is back on. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Picture This: Week 11, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

I flubbed the date on this! Sorry for the late post.

March 9, 2015

Monday was the final of bachelor, which I proudly correctly predicted, so Ellie tried to makeout with me while Jenny gloated over her medal and Adam slept at my house. It was one of those nights that was more like college than real life and it was lovely.

March 10, 2015

This was my backyard about 7 PM on Tuesday. The thickest and most far-reaching fog I've ever experienced rolled in, making our backyard look better suited for dementors than anything else.


March 11, 2015

The fog stayed most of the day Wednesday, too.  In the morning, nothing was visibel through the windows.  By the afternoon the buildings were back, but the lake was still missing.

March 12, 2015

I was fairly embarrased by our living room status post.  It had never felt as hodgepodge as the pictures looked, and we've made steps to remedy that.  Clearly that doesn't mean it looks good immediately.


March 13, 2015

Rough morning for Henry.

March 14, 2015

Jen and I went to Dirty Dancing Saturday. It was fantastic- so true to the movie, and so good to hang out. 

March 15, 2015

Copper has been on high alert with all of the birds moving back. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bedroom Basics.

New, unrelated goal: post titles. I always want to use alliteration and it always feels forced and boring. 

Our bedroom was the first room we tackled. By tackled I mean painted. Zach hadn't made any personal touches to the house in the two months between our closing date and my moving date.  He did more of the necessary modifications, like applying poly to the floors of our bedroom, guest room, and office - which was a huge job and hugely helpful, electrical work - the stuff to make our house functional.  I'm not known for patience, and he was tired of living in a blank slate, so we wanted something to feel like us. The bedroom was the most obvious and manageable area.  

We painted the walls BM Rockport Grey and hung curtains that I had in my previous apartment (fabric here).  We had considered the curtains to be a stopgap, but they look good with the wall color and to date, I've re-hemmed/fitted six of the eight panels.  It's progress, slow progress, so now we probably won't change them anytime soon because I will not be motivated.  The curtains are a white/cream with a grey damask pattern that is small enough to not be very bold, but crisp enough to be a pattern/color.  Is that the weirdest description? They also make me question my sanity because they looked totally different in my apartment.  Regardless, they tie-in really well and it's a wonderfully confusing thing - that the curtains are grey and the walls match and look grey, and then they look brown. Color really fascinates me.

I'm getting this out of order, but we also painted the trim as a part of my quest to paint all of the trim white.  I need to re-paint the trim because it now has poly splashes all over from Zach's quick worst/misunderstanding that poly doesn't dry clear in splashes. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the bed pillows. I feel hate in the picture above. That's strong, more like wish-I-would-have-smoothed-that-comforter-more. Zach is not into decorative pillows. I'm very into decorative pillows.  True life: my bed used to look so good with pillows.  BUT they're not practical because they have to be removed to sleep and we have one cat in particular [Copper] that hates messes/piles of things [Copper] and will let us know by ruining them overnight [Copper].  So that makes them impractical and in danger.  As such, we've kept only our sleeping pillows on the bed. But the bed looks so blase. Maybe if I stand up the pillows. Stay tuned for these fascinating developments

Moving on. Sometime over the last year, we painted the door that used to lead to the guest room and made it into our headboard. It was very easy - we painted the door, cut it to fit our bed (and were lucky that it was solid wood), and used scrap pieces of 2x4's to give it legs. You can see more on the process here. Several people have expressed concern that it would fall or break on our sleeping heads, but it's been at least four months and all is well. We attached it to the wall with a cable certified to hold 1000 pounds in an earthquake, so we're feeling confident in earthquake-less Cleveland. 

The side tables and lamps are from Target.  Again, weirdest thing that a lamp with a color of River Birch matches grey/brown walls and curtains. Both were wedding registry gifts/bought with gift cards. The dresser and mirror are a part of my proudest Salvation Army score to date. The matching tall dresser is in the guest room. The rocking chair was my great grandmother's and I need to give it better cushions. My mum has been saving it for when my sisters or I have kids.  That doesn't mean I'm having kids.  She sent it to me because Henry really likes it.  Henry's the white cat that appreciates decorative pillows.  The canvas above is a picture my sister took of my grandpa's pond in Michigan. I love it for so many reasons - that someone I love took it, that it's of a place I love, and the colors are magical. Seriously - it looks alive in this picture.

We have several plans for this room.  First is probably a bed frame to hide the box spring that the cats really love hanging on it / scratching it in the wee hours of the morning.  The second is probably some sort of accent wall behind the dresser.  For some reason, the paint never took well to that wall.  It stuck, obviously, but we've since wiped it for a mark or something, and the arc of the sponge stays on the wall. It's the strangest thing.  It doesn't happen with the other three walls, making me think there's some sort of strange paint under the multiple layers on the wall. It's driven me crazy, and the only way I can think to handle it would be a wall treatment. 

Then there's the closet doors, which we've similarly destroyed and need to replace, along with a better closet storage system (I'm envious of IKEA systems my dad did for my closet in my childhood home), a new light, crown molding, hooks for clothes behind the door that I apparently didn't photograph - the finishing touches stuff.  Maybe something for that blank space between the nightstand and closet, too.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Picture This: Week 10, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

March 2, 2015

My wedding ring cracked at the beginning of February.  Instead of having it fixed, we had the band thickened to help prevent a repeat incident.  It's nice to finally have it back after nearly a month. 

March 3, 2015

I'm trying to do my back exercises more frequently.  Henry's all about supporting.

March 4, 2015

That awkward moment when your peaches look like moonshine.

March 5, 2015

It might be my favorite holiday.

March 6, 2015

We're a week late, and put in some good time over the weekend, but still not through. I don't want to talk about it, but it's started quite slow compared to the previous seasons.

March 7, 2015

The workout competition is over and we can safely eat fast food without point deductions. WENDYS!

March 8, 2015

We hit a smorgasbord of projects this weekend, including oiling, adding our Mikrut wire, and hanging the pallet coat hooks my mum made us.  I love how it looks, even in this terrible picture.  Better pictures to come after I paint the wall. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shades of Grey :: 9.

That's how many swatches were tested before we settled on a grey that we could carry across the main level. That might be how many months it'll take to paint, too. 

When we started the swatch process, we had only painted our bedroom, bathroom and office.  The bedroom and bathroom are both BM Rockport Grey, which is a grey on the brown scale my mum once said. I love that description.  The office, as you saw last week, is BM Patriotic White and BM Hale Navy.  The ceiling demands enough attention to be included. They're both blues and are on opposite sides of the spectrum.

The rest of the floor (maybe I should make a floor plan) consists of the kitchen (which you haven't seen), the dining room, the living room, and the guest room (haven't seen that either).  I want to do something bold in the guest room and have always thought green.  The door's always closed so the cats don't overtake everything and we have one less room to clean, so that paint isn't considered in this grand scheme. That's another story. The color for the main level would have to tie in the rest - bedroom, office, bathroom, kitchen, dining, living. There's a hallway too. 

The original swatches were grays between the blue and brown schemes. We tested them all over because we have different lights and sources all over - the dark, artificial light of the hall, the bright, natural light of the dining room, the mixed light of the living room. 

The first three were too cool.  They're the swatches on the top right - BM Gray Cloud, BM Iced Cube Silver and BM Tundra.  All read too blue and too cold for us.  This was a bad sign in the fall, when Ohio wasn't in the negative degrees. 

Within a week we had nixed those and brought three more - the ones on the top left.  BM Distant Grey, BM Paper White, and BM White Wisp, the last of which I misspelled in the picture.  At this point, we decided on White Wisp.  It read the best in the different areas and  we thought surely six swatches couldn't lie.

Obviously that didn't work out because there's three more swatches up there. Long story a little shorter, I had painted above the chair-rail in the dining room while Zach was working in the garage, he came in when I was done and asked when I was painting. White Wisp looked good in the swatch and looked like nothing on the wall. 

So for the final round, I polled friends and searched the internet to get their favorite grays. BM Coventry Grey is my friend Alex's living room, a color I've always liked, and Sherwin William's Repose Grey is my friend Jess's color throughout her hallways and first floor, a color I loved when I visited in the fall.  BM Revere Pewter is a color I saw repeated multiple times in the internet's quest for a solid grey.  BM Coventry grey was the same color as the line in our curtains (which are mirrored in the living room and dining room). That was nixed. BM Revere Pewter looked just like our bedroom and bathroom in BM Rockport Grey. SW Repose Grey it was.

As of this post, half of our hallway and the area above the chair-rail in the dining room are this color.  The second half of the hallway and two walls of the living room await their turn.

If that wasn't the most wordy post about choosing between fairly similar colors, I don't know what was. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Picture This: Week 9, 2015.

Obligatory prelude: I've done a picture-a-day project for the past couple years. I debate its continuation annually, but I like it as a part of posting the ordinary and capturing daily life. Check out past posts through the picture-a-day tag.

February 23, 2015

Mondays have become girls nights with Ellie.

February 24, 2015

I met Jen for dinner and drinks for the first time in too long. Per usual, I forgot a picture. Also per usual, I forgot Zachles. The latter is a joke - he went to Kevo's for drinks.

February 25, 2015

Remember the cat planter from last week? Two things: Anthropologie ships crazy fast, and the cats hate it. 

February 26, 2015

I met Foxy at Thursday's book club, the feisty little fluffball.

February 27, 2015

Ian and I pulled off a surprise visit for Zach Friday, and informed him he'd be getting a tattoo the next day. He wanted it previously. 

February 28, 2015

Mission success.

March 1, 2015

The amount of mailboxes decapitated by the plows will never cease to amuse me.

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