Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I Loved in August

I love reading other blogs that share what the blogger loved during the previous month and I thought I would try something similar. Let's start with August and see where we go from here.

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. I finished the 3rd book in the trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns that this book had. The author passed away several years ago after turning in the manuscripts and what a wonderful author he was. I highly recommend this trilogy and I'm sure you will love it!

2. Josie Maran Argan Oil. It's 100% pure argan oil from Morocco and I absolutely love it. It's an oil that provides the ultimate hydration and is great for the skin, cuticles, and split ends. I'm constantly finding more and more ways to use this product. Try it, I think you'll love it.

 3. Garden Veggies! I never thought that 1 cucumber plant, 1 tomato plant, and 1 cherry tomato plant would produce enough vegetables to feed the neighborhood. I think I got about 30 cucumbers from my one plant and too many cherry tomatoes to count therefore I've been sharing the fruits of my labor with everyone I can. My book club friends have begun to request my veggies which is a true compliment. What's my secret? Well I use compost, rain water from my rain barrel, and talk really nicely to the plants.....don't you do the same thing?

4. Time spent at Ravinia with my husband and friends. It's a great outdoor music venue where you can camp out in the park and picnic while listening to great music. We saw the Temptations and Carrie Underwood in August which was a blast.

5. My new Washer and Dryer! Our Laundry Room Demo was life altering - seriously! My husband and I have so much more time thanks to our super capacity washer and dryer. We used to do more than 10 loads a week because of the small capacity appliances we had and now we can do 3 a week - huge difference. It was the wisest money we have spent in a long time. The big reveal is coming soon so please ignore the tape since we are still painting and putting some final touches on the room. I'm excited to show you the finished product but you can see quite a bit of it here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

always time for you

A dear friend of mine from the library lost her father recently. It has been a difficult time for her and her family and I wanted to put together an extra special card for her to not only send my condolences but also to let her know that I'm always here for her. I really enjoyed painting the bench and was especially proud with how the grass turned out underneath the bench. You can read her beautifully written tribute to her father on her blog Life Chapter by Chapter.

Supplies Used:
  • Stamps: Time for You
  • Paper: basic gray, chocolate chip, riding hood red, whisper white, patterned paper
  • Ink: basic black, chocolate chip, old olive, always artichoke, riding hood red, soft suede
  • Other: riding hood red striped ribbon, eyelets, piercer
Note: all products used are Stampin Up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pocket Silhouettes Birthday Card

My book club friend Peg is turning 60 and we are getting together to see "Eat, Pray, Love" on Saturday to celebrate and then the party follows with all things Italian. We have such a feast planned that we certainly will make Elizabeth Gilbert proud. It'll be a fun party and I'm really looking forward to the movie and the party that will proceed. I purchased a gift for her with the theme in mind and wrapped it in a pretty cloth napkin. The napkin contains a floral pattern and was the inspiration for this card. I loved creating it for our special Peg.

Supplies Used:
  • Paper: Kraft, whisper white, Bermuda bay, kiwi kiss, rich razzleberry
  • Ink: Versamark
  • Stamps: Pocket Silhouettes, Happy Birthday stamp
  • Other: white embossing powder, rich razzleberry dotted ribbon, dimensionals, scoring tool
  • Techniques: embossing, scoring

Friday, August 20, 2010

Laundry Room Demo - Days 4 & 5

It's been a long week but our laundry room transformation is almost done! I've been updating all of you throughout the week but Day 4 unfortunately consisted of the drywall drying. After 24 hours it was still not completely dry so I whipped out the fan and it was dry in an hour but it was too late to make any real progress. The tiles were grouted and the drywall dried but that was all that took place on Day 4. Nothing too exciting.

Day 5 however we accomplished a great deal. The walls were finished, the cabinet was hung, and the walls were primed and painted. It's such a small space that I thought it would be easy to paint but after getting covered in Elmer's glue primer and yelling at my husband for getting it everywhere, we ended up needed a little break. David headed to the Laundromat (for the first time ever!) and I headed off for a much needed glass of wine. Afterwards we ate dinner and I completed the coats of paint alone (sorry Honey it's just not your forte)!

The pictures were taken in the evening and aren't the greatest but I'm saving the good pictures for the upcoming reveal. I can't wait until it's all done!!!

Stay tuned for the big reveal....coming soon!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laundry Room Demo - Day 3

We just completed day 3 of our laundry room transformation and I'm sure you will all be just as excited as we will be once it's done. Are you sick of me blogging about it yet?!?! I really need to do some laundry here soon and I don't want to spend all weekend doing it - but wait....I can wash big loads now! But still, I don't want stacks of laundry looming over me. I have the hardest part of the job - folding and putting it away.

Here's a recap of our transformation thus far:
  • On Day 1 we demoed the area and moved all of the plumbing to gain our extra 6 inches of space.
  • On Day 2 they built the new wall and began to drywall the area.
  • On Day 3 they finishing putting up the drywall, laid the tiles on the floor, installed the can lights, and assembled the cabinets.
Next we need to finish up the walls, grout the tiles, prime and paint the walls and ceiling (YUCK!), install the cabinets, and last but not least......install the washer and dryer. I also have some finishing touches that I'm looking  forward to sharing with you. Let's just say I created art that didn't cost me anything!

I hope you stay with us as we finish the laundry room transformation that will allow us to wash and dry big loads of laundry in style.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Laundry Room Demo - Day 2

Yesterday we completed day 2 in the construction of our new laundry space. In day 1 we demoed the area and had the plumbing moved so we could gain our extra 6 inches of space. And in day 2 they completed the building of the wall on the left side and began drywalling the area. They didn't get as much done on day 2 but they were only working on it for a 1/2 day because of another project they were working on. Tanner and I got to sleep in so that was a big bonus.

You can see that it's coming together and the most exciting part of the new appliances arrived! They are temporarily sitting in the garage but I have been studying the manual so that I will know how to use all of the settings once it's time to start doing laundry again. It's really piling up so I hope they are done soon.

Stay tuned for details on what was accomplished on day 3 - I'm hoping the drywall is complete and the tiling on the floor but we'll see.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Liam and Emily's Photoshoot

I was excited when a friend asked me to take pictures of her twins at a local park while I was on my "stay-cation". I love taking pictures and children are so fun to shoot because you can really capture their personalities. Usually my nieces are my photo victims but given that they live far away I don't get to take their pictures too often. So I was excited to get out in the beautiful weather and spend some time with a great family. Here's a few that I thought I would share.

The photo above was one of my favorites - doesn't she look like an angel?
She is really warming up to the camera and posing for me.
Doesn't he look so mature? I think he's wise beyong his years.
Then they started getting goofy on me and this was not my prompting. I tried to make it fun and the key was to keep them moving. They were itching to change clothes and go to the playground.
Looking for pennies in the wishing well.
This reminds me of Forrest Gump sitting on the bench.

Mom was hiding something for them to find and they were concentrating really hard.

And there you have it, our little trip to shoot some photos of the cutest twins around. They grow up fast and I was happy to capture these pictures for the family.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Laundry Room Demo - Day 1

Today was the first day of my "stay-cation" and I was actually excited to get up bright and early to see my laundry area become the hardest working room in the house. It started with clearing out the room and beginning to demo the area. The guys did a great job keeping it clean and Tanner did surprisingly well considering that there were strangers in his house pounding, banging, and creating a lot of noise.

Next they needed to move the plumbing by the furnace to the back of the closet so we can gain our much needed 6 inches of space so that we can go from apartment sized appliances to full-size.

And after the plumber worked his magic, the pipes are now in the right place and we have gas piping since we are converting from an electric to gas dryer. The gas dryer was a bit more expensive but we are going to see the savings come back to us through our monthly bills.

All of that extra space...maybe I can even hang our ironing board in there since we have so much space now?! A full day of work and with day 2 around the corner, we will soon have the drywall up, painted walls, flooring, can lights, and a cabinet for storage. Stay tuned as we continue on our journey to full-size appliance land!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Healthy Treat to Break the Heat

It has been uncomfortably hot and humid over the past few days and finding a bit of relief is definitely needed. I've been soaking up the A/C but I decided that a cool treat was in order. Instead of heading to the freezer for some ice cream, I made a berry smoothie that is delicious and healthy. Has anyone else tried the pre-packaged Yoplait frozen yogurt packets? I found them at Costco and now I can't do without them. They are pre-packaged and included frozen berries and yogurt and all you need to do is add milk and blend. It's great when you are in a hurry and need a sweet little treat.  

Doesn't it look delicious? I'm thinking I could use another one right now. Has anyone tried a great smoothie recipe that they would like to share? Finding the perfect blend and the right consistency is more difficult than you think. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation Destination

I just realized I was a bit of a slacker on getting back to everyone regarding our upcoming keep my sanity vacation. Remember this post here where I asked for you to help us select our vacation destination? Well I even challenged you to name 2 of the 3 countries that we are considering and I had a few guesses and each picked 1 of the 3 countries but no one picked 2 out of 3. I won't keep you in suspense any longer. We were deciding between Costa Rica, St. Lucia, and Grenada. A special thanks to my blogging buddies for playing along with my little contest- 1 guessed Costa Rica and the other guessed St. Lucia. Well we are heading to.............................

St. Lucia to see the Piton's and enjoy the wonderfully beautiful beaches.

We are staying at an adults only (aka no kids splashing me and my drink while lounging in the pool) all inclusive resort that has all of the amenities but is smaller than some of the larger Sandals resorts. We I did a ton of research before deciding where to go and I got a tremendous deal through Luxury Link's website. If you haven't visited this website I highly recommend it! You get to bid on your vacation package and I saved 60% off of the regular price and searched the Internet like crazy and no one could touch the price I got by bidding for our package and winning through this site. It's also unique in that it offers really unique places to stay that are a bit off of the beaten path and often smaller in nature with the best of class service. I also read a ton of reviews on Trip Advisor before pulling the trigger on our resort. Super excited and I'll tell you all about it once we get back. Until then I am getting swimsuit ready by eating all of the veggies from my garden! I have cucumbers and tomatoes growing out of my ears! I've resorted to giving most of them away because I can't eat them that fast!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Laundry Room - First Problem Solved

We are getting super-excited about our new laundry room that will soon allow us to have a full-size washer and dryer. Very excited about the amount of time and money this will save us but also it will certainly help with resale value as well. But I think we are both equally excited about the design process. But first I wanted to share with you that the first problem has been solved.

Instead of adding the extra space on the right side of the laundry closet we are luckily able to add it to the left side instead. The big metal pipe on the right was not something we were able to work around but luckily we are able to make it work on the other side with the moving of some piping instead. Thank goodness, I was getting really scared that I would possibly have to give up my scrapbook closet and that would have had me in tears.

Now the fun part, picking out a new washer/dryer and what the room will look like when it's all done. Anyone purchase new appliances lately? I'd love some recommendations but here's what we are thinking is the direction we may go in. Some super sleek stainless steel/gray/graphite colored machines! I think they would look beautiful next to some wainscoating on the walls and a marble countertop for folding those freshly washed clothes. I never thought I would be so excited about new appliances but I feel like a new world is opening up for us. Oh I know the drama but seriously we are super excited! Stay tuned, the project begins next week and I'll be sharing the project details with all of you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Laundry Room Demo - Our First Problem

I'm very excited about the possibility of having full-size washer/dryer in our basement and we have begun the process of working with a contractor to figure out how to make that possible. Sounds simple right? Well not when you are dealing with the space limitations that we are. There are a lot of options but they are slowly getting more and more expensive! One option was to convert my scrapbooking/craft closet into a laundry closet and I can't even imagine giving that up so we really have to figure out a way to make this work. Yesterday I shared with you what my dream laundry room would look like in this post and today I thought I would share the reality of the situation with you. Follow me through this adventure.

We had bi-fold doors here but after having to remove them for the bazillionith 10th time to have repairs done on our washing machine, my hubby tore them down and I decided to hang curtains from Ikea instead. Thanks Mom for hemming them for us!

Here's the tiniest front-loaders you can buy and they are junk! It takes an hour and a half to dry one load of clothes and that may only consist of 4 bath towels if you are lucky and I'm talking bath towels not bath sheets. Seriously it's ridiculous and the reason we need full-size appliances is to keep my sanity. The options for small washers and dryers is non-existent and stackables are out of the question - I hate them even more. We have to have full-size when we have a family and fixing this problem will help with the resale value of our home. Who wants to buy a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with tiny appliances - no one I know!

We thought we had figured out the solution that was going to be easiest and the cheapest until we discovered this freakin pipe behind the wall we were planning on building out - this is a big problem! We were so disappointed to discover this problem and now we know why no one has fixed this problem in the past. We are very motivated and working with Peg, we will find a solution! Stay tuned as we go through our first demo adventure together.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Planning Our Laundry Room Demo

We live in a split-level home that was built in 1984 when closet space wasn't plentiful to say the least and the builders didn't think that having ample space for a washer/dryer was a priority. Well I'm here to tell you that having a beautiful space for a full-size washer/dryer is a major priority for a family. Our laundry area closet barely fits a 24" washer/dryer which was made for apartments or other small spaces where you aren't doing a load of laundry a day. While we have nice front-loaders, they choices are limited and after having our washer repaired about 10 times (not kidding) we decided that we needed to figure out a way to get full-size washers and dryer in our house. When we have children, the small units just won't cut it.

Here comes my book club buddy Peg who is a contractor/decorator by day and fabulous friend, book club junky at night. I've seen her work and it's fabulous so I was jumping for joy when she didn't shy away from our small project. My husband kept saying that there was nothing we could do and that I just had to live with it but I knew Peg would come up with a solution or two. She came over today and had a ton of ideas on how to not only get more room for a full-size washer/dryer but also more closet space. It's nice to know that as our family grows there are options for gaining more closet space. That will have to wait for another day but it looks like the week of August 16th we will have a larger laundry area that will fit full-size appliances. It involves pushing out a wall in our family room but losing a couple inches there to gain more on the other side is something I'm not worried about. The added bonus - I get to shop for some fabulous new appliances and get rid of the puny-size one's we have now! The options are endless and I didn't know you could drool over appliances but that I am definitely doing.

Here's a few photos for inspiration:

A girl can dream of a bright and cheery room like this.

The appliances are a gorgeous color and the countertop has plenty of space for folding and a place for hanging clothes as well.

Pull out ironing board is lovely but not in our plans.

While the teal isn't my taste, we did see these on clearance today at Best Buy. It looks great in this room.

The metallic, steel look of this room really gets my motor running. So fresh and clean!

White, white, white - need I say more?

This is a total dream....3 appliances! No more waiting to put all of the clothes in the dryer when you have two of them! When I hit the lotto this will become a reality.

Now that I have had a moment to daydream, this one is more realistic - it fits in a closet and has full size units with storage for cleaning supplies in addition to only being for laundry. We decided we didn't want to purchase the pedestals that are commonplace with front-loaders because we needed to have a folding area on top of the units. I do want the units a bit higher so it's not so hard on the back and building a platform with drawers in the closet may be a better idea. We are looking forward to the project and I'll keep you posted on the progress.