Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Cards from  |  Photo by Carissa Christine Photography

Thursday, December 5, 2013

We have windows!

The new windows are in! And they are amazing. We had a cold couple days, but they are already worth it. All of the windows are the same size as the old ones, but the new ones have so much more glass space. It's fantastic. While we're missing trim and everything still and we are rocking make-shift curtains, the difference in sound and warmth is huge already.

The biggest effort on our part at this point was taking down all blinds & curtains and moving furniture out of the way. It was nice because all the curtains got a wash, but then they all needed to be ironed. In all honesty, I'm not done with that part yet…

That photo helps to show exactly how horrible our windows can be. That is what we used to wake up to in the morning. Fun stuff.

Besides exciting things like no cold breezes in the winter, actually being able to keep the windows open in the summer, and not having them get so frosted up…. we will actually have unified trim! HORAY! I can't tell you how exciting that is for me. While I thought we only had 3 different styles of trim on the main floor, I'm pretty sure we actually had four. Two were just the same style with one different pieces. We've opted to go with what the original style was in the house. So, similar to below. I'm not 100% sure how that bottom piece will look yet. I'm sure the "design" won't be dead on. But we've also had to look at weird cutouts like on this window since we've moved in too… I'm not sure now someone even did that.

Sorry for the gainy-ness of that one. That was my one chance to take a quick shot with the iPhone before it was ripped out.

Installation day was very cold…

… as there large gaping holes in our house.  But totally worth it. Also, please excuse the messing kitchen. Keeping it real here. Things got crazy that day. And MESSY.

I do still need to take some photos of them installed.

Next up: siding removal!

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Wrap Up

Hello December and all things Christmas!

This year is the year of busy! We've been spending a lot of time at home working on things.... yard work, cleaning out the basement, and planning & prepping. Lots of planning. As of right now we have a window well, new windows, and a naked house - more on that later. We also celebrated Thanksgiving with a marathon of meals and family gatherings. And apparently, I took a lot of photos of the dog sleeping on the couch.

November To Do:
  • Do better at getting blog posts done, I've seriously been slacking. Oops
  • Make a trip to Plato's Closet to try and sell some winter clothes and coats we no longer wear
  • Make a trip to Goodwill to get rid of STUFFDefinitely need to make a 2nd trip!
  • Work on the basement and the crazy that is happening down there. Hopefully the two points above will help greatly. It will basically need to be completely cleared out in order for the contractor finish it. -- We've been working a lot on this! We have a huge dumpster right now, so some stuff has gone in there. The trips to Goodwill, Plato's Closet, and New Uses have really helped. And you would be surprised at how many boxes from electronics and other home goods accumulate... they have all been recycled.
December To Do:
  • Empty the basement.
  • Christmas shopping and decorating!
  • New blinds for the windows.
 At this point, we're waiting on the window trim to get finished, so we can proceed to pack the upstairs with downstairs stuffs. Same goes for Christmas decorations... I don't think we'll have outside lights this year and while our Christmas tree would already be up in front of the living room window right now, it would just be in the way for the window trim (which should hopefully be installed this week!). All of our old blinds were either falling apart or they will now be too small, so we can't wait to finally have better privacy again.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting there...

Hey, how's it going...?

There has been not a lot of action happening here, but SO much talking and planning. As of right now, our dumpster should arrive tomorrow or Friday. Along with it will come our contractor and his helpers. Friday our windows and siding are supposed to be delivered and we've been ordered to have window dressings down and furniture moved by Saturday morning. I have a lot going on in the next few days, so I'm about to go start stripping windows as soon as I'm done talking to myself here. ;)

Along with working on the exterior, we are also having the basement finished. We will be adding a big family room, a bedroom, a finished laundry room, and then there will be an unfinished storage/utility room left. Hopefully that unfinished space will allow for the possibility of a second bathroom in the future. Because there will be so much work happening in the basement, we need to clear it out.

We have been looking into local storage places, as well as those storage boxes that just sit in your driveway or wherever. Storage units are fairly cheap and most have a special for the first month or two, but those boxes, which would be so much more convenient are so dang expensive. Like triple the price of a storage unit. Plus big fees for delivery and pick up. Yuck.

At this point, our plan is to work with what we have... That means, as soon as the upstairs windows are taken care of, everything down is coming up. Yikes. My office, aka the second bedroom, will be getting most of it. I have a feeling there will be containers of stuff everywhere, as well as a second couch in the living room. We figured it was better to save the money and we don't have any plans for parties or gatherings at our home for awhile.

I have been working really hard at clearing things out. I've made trips to local stores that buy things from you and resell them. I brought a few things to the home goods store of this variety and got rid of a couple decent sized things and some other things I thought they would reject. Then I brought a TON of clothes over to the clothes variety of this type of store. They took maybe 5% of what I brought in saying that it was out of date/style. Funny thing was, they took a hooded sweatshirt and sweater that are from college (aka at least 6 years old). They also took a couple scarves and a pea coat. I think I might have one more trip of stuff to bring over there of stuff I missed the first time. Anyways, I'm preparing a huge  load of stuff to donate.

On top of that, I've also been able to sell some stuff to/through Amazon, which is nice. I have one box that needs to go out the door for sure and maybe even one more after that. I also might have to make a trip to the store that buys and resells book for the stuff I can't get rid of through Amazon. The bonus part of this is, I think I might be able to buy a really awesome gift for Bill for Christmas without spending any money! I figured it was best to at least try to make a little money before I just gave it all away.

I have also been recycling and throwing things out like crazy. It's nice to get this kick of motivation, but it also sucks that it took all of this to get me going. Hopefully I can keep it going after this so we don't accidentally accumulate a bunch of stuff again.

Due to the tear off of the old siding, we will also be graced with the presence of a giant dumpster. We already got the go ahead to throw out anything we needed to while it was here, as long as there were no tires or TVs (I'm going to assume that should include all electronics). That was exactly what I wanted to hear. When we moved in there was a large, strange, make-shift cabinet in the basement. We have been using it, just because its there. And in all honesty, too large to really move. That is one thing we don't want anymore in the new basement and it will be getting the sledge hammer treatment and thrown in.

We also have this crazy thing we threw together with random items we had and a counter top in the laundry room to have some storage and a place for me to put folded laundry. The bottom is actually some really cheap shelves I bought while I was in high school that are glued and screwed to our old bathroom cabinet. I'm worried about getting it out of the basement, but I really want to actually get some cabinets in there for a better storage solution.

I'm sure we'll find some other stuff down there that needs to go while we're bringing everything up. Bill's parents definitely brought over tons of things after we moved in and we pretty much just threw them in the basement and never really looked in them. I'm actually afraid of what could be in there. And then we have all of our "art" stuff from college... We both have Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, so we have a plethora of things we can probably finally get rid of.

Anyways, I apologize if things are a little dull and slow around here for awhile. There will be lots to share soon, we just have to get past the yuck first.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We've Broken Ground!

.... literally, but that's all the dirt action that will be happening. Our excruciatingly slow progress on anything on this home renovation went somewhere recently, but not very far. Our contractor popped in the other morning to dig out the egress window well. Nothing too exciting.

So, we have a hole and a loose window well. I'm thinking that we're going to have to get one of those covers for it before we get a lot of snow... Our neighbor has a horribly bad habit of just blasting the side of our house with his snow blower. I'm sure he would fill the hole with snow in no time…

That reminds me, I should also go pick up all the rocks that came out of that hole… those could be bad in a snow blower or lawn mower…

I didn't take any photos right away and then it snowed, so I had to wait a couple days for it to melt and to get some daylight opportunity to take some shots.

The contractor is still finishing up another job, so we still have some waiting to do, but hopefully we'll be in full swing shortly. We have a for sure date he will be working here full time, but he's trying to get here sooner. Unfortunately, it's all dependent on windows and siding delivery at this point. So, let's cross our fingers and hope he can get that delivery bumped up sooner. 

I've actually been getting a little worried, mostly because of the weather. Usually I have to do that plastic wrap stuff over most of the windows to cut down on the cold air coming in. I opted not to do it at all thinking that any day the new windows would be coming in. So, I'm glad that a real date for them is coming up. I'm excited to sit at my desk without there being a cold draft…

Additionally, we now have that pile to deal with. Actually, it looks like it may have compacted down a little. I have no idea what we will do with it… maybe fix the grading on the window well side of the house… or around the house in general…

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stitch Fix #5

I took a giant break from Stitch Fix. Not really on purpose, I just sort of forgot about it…. and when they did email me to remind me that I should schedule a fix, I would think "I'll do that later" and proceed to forget again. At the beginning of October, I finally remembered after I had scheduled a family portrait session for mid-November. I thought it would be a great way to find something to wear for that. I actually meant to go on there and specify that I was looking for something for family photos, but by the time I made it back to the site, my fix was already assembled and on its way out the door.

Here's what I got this time:

  • Kut From The Kloth -- Jonathan Corduroy Skinny Pant
  • Fiancee -- Wilam Zig-Zag Print Top
  • Mak -- Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan
  • Olive & Oak -- Justine Faux Leather Sleeve Utility Jacket
  • 41Hawthorn -- Bixby Swan Print 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

Kut From The Kloth -- Jonathan Corduroy Skinny Pant

These  were actually really cute and I almost got them. They were however a little on the big size. I have a hard time finding pants that I like because usually the cut just sits on my body funny. I really liked the cut of these, but I was not super crazy about the color. I bought a couple of colored jeans last year and I'm doubting they will get worn again this year. Pants are just so much of a neutral to me, I find a hard time picking a top, even if I know something very simple will go just fine with it. Maybe if they had been in a nice brown or a gray I would have kept them.

Fiancee -- Wilam Zig-Zag Print Top

Who doesn't love chevron right now? This was sadly the only piece I kept from this fix. While I'm a little worried that chevron might be on it's way out the door style-wise, I figured that I liked it enough that I could get enough wear out of it. I actually thought this looked really cute with those corduroys, tucked in, with this funky black jacket with gold buttons that I already have. I paraded around in the house in all of that to see if I could convince myself and my husband that the pants were a good call. They were still a no go. However, I have already worn this to work with black leggings, flats, and an emerald green cardigan. It was definitely a hit.

Mak -- Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button-Up Cardigan

I love sweaters, especially a good cardigan because I wear them all year round. My office is freezing… And the color was great for this cardigan. The only problem is, was that it looked like someone already shrunk it in the wash. I could have pulled it off by never buttoning it, but on that chance that I did want to, it wouldn't work. Not to mention it even looked like it wouldn't button when it was unbuttoned. It was really disappointing because I actually don't have one in this color and it was oh, so soft...

Olive & Oak -- Justine Faux Leather Sleeve Utility Jacket

I don't want to be mean, but this might be the one item I have liked the least out of everything I've ever gotten from stitch fix. I think it could be cute if it was all one material, but those faux leather sleeves are just not doing anything for me. It fit well, but I just couldn't get over the sleeves.

41Hawthorn -- Bixby Swan Print 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

If the Wilam Zig-Zag Print Top was my favorite, with the corduroy pants in second, this would have been third. The swans are really cute and I've really been liking this style of shirt lately. But… these kinds of shirts are a huge hit or miss for me for a couple of reason. A lot of times the sleeves are just too tight for my liking. I don't like to feel like I can barely move. The sleeves on this on are fantastic, I wouldn't change a thing about them. They even had a cute little pearl button on the cuffs that I didn't get any photos of… For me this one was cut in a way that I had to always stand perfect for it to look right. If I didn't there was something weird going on in the shoulders. While those swans are kind of cute, they just really aren't me. I would maybe have worn this once and it would have made its way to the back of the closet. 

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Check out my other Stitch Fixes: #1  |  #2  |  #3  |  #4

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store

Who doesn't like candy? My husband Bill LOVES candy. He goes for more of the fruity stuff, where I tend to go for the chocolate. To put a downer on a post about candy, my husband and I had a family funeral to attend to about 3 hours away. I knew that we would pass by this place twice that day and I figured it would be a great way to make the day a little less depressing.

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store is in Jordan, MN right on Highway 169 close to Emma Krumbie's (yum!). Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a website… but if you Google them, there is definitely info out there about it.

Please excuse the not so awesome cell phone photos, but you get the idea.

Besides having candy, they have a ton of other things. This was right before Halloween, so they had pumpkins too. They also have a ton of different flavors of pop (or soda… whatever you may call it), fresh pies, meats, apples, carmel apples, and puzzles.

There was a lot of normal, everyday candy and a fair amount of stuff that you've never heard of… But there is just table after table FULL of candy. Bill was definitely overwhelmed when we walked in. It was something I've never seen from him before. The man didn't know what to do...

They also had an entire section devoted to bacon flavored things. While I love bacon and it sort of sounds interesting, bacon and candy just don't go together for me. Sadly, we passed on everything in this section.

There was also a fair amount of things that were "normal," but had funky packaging. I don't know about you, but I've never seen Hershey's bars look ilk that.

We also discovered some candy named after us! :) Okay, not really, but I can pretend… We totally went for the Potato Chip Chocolate Bar above, but I actually think that the Chocolate Covered Potato Chips might have been even tastier… There wasn't quite enough potato chip happening in the chocolate bar for me.

Lastly, here is our basket of goodies. I'm know that we definitely added a few more things before we made it out the door. Everything was actually fairly tasty. Well, I'm not so sure about that bag of fake blood… That was something Bill brought to work as a joke.

It is definitely a place to check out if you're in the area. ESPECIALLY if you have kids. But an FYI, they only take cash, but also have a few ATMs around.

Monday, November 4, 2013

October Wrap Up

October has already come and gone...Is it just me or does time fly by the older you get?

I know we were busy in October, but nothing really stands out too much in my mind... normal family and home life things happening, I guess. We did make a trip over to the Science Museum early in the month. That was something we hadn't done in a few years and had a great afternoon doing that. It suddenly became fall... Behr decided that it's cool to walk on tables lately. Bill brought home some of my favorite Halloween candy. We made a stop at "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store." More on that later. We celebrated Halloween by dressing up as sailors and did some pumpkin carving.

October To Do:
  • Decorate for Halloween!
  • Commit to exterior light fixtures and purchase! I think we're going to wait until spring to do this. I thought we would be further along by *cough*at least started*cough*... I think for now we'll just have them throw up the old fixture and switch it out in the spring, since it is something we can do.
  • Decide on door hardware for the front and back doors. And we didn't even look into this. I think this is going to wait until we actually have to decide.
  • Lock down the front door color? Bam. At this point, I'm pretty sure we're going with the Burma Jade or something very similar. I don't think painting will happen until spring due to weather, so it could change.
November To Do:
  • Do better at getting blog posts done, I've seriously been slacking.
  • Make a trip to Plato's Closet to try and sell some winter clothes and coats we no longer wear
  • Make a trip to Goodwill to get rid of STUFF. 
  • Work on the basement and the crazy that is happening down there. Hopefully the two points above will help greatly. It will basically need to be completely cleared out in order for the contractor finish it.
It's crazy how fast this year is going, soon it will be Christmas.... I guess I could start thinking about Christmas too while I'm at it. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I love lamp.

Way back in June (I think...), we were visiting my in-laws and they were showing us their soon to be installed kitchen cabinets that were still in the garage. I spotted a fun lamp off to the side... I don't really remember how the conversation went, but it was from my husband's grandmother's house and his parents were asked to get rid of it. I'm guessing that meant drop it off at Goodwill or something. It wasn't exactly what I would have picked out, but I wanted it and it was free. I thought it would be perfect to replace the last Ikea lamp in the living room and it would add to the antique brass that I've been slowly adding. My husband even made a comment about how it would save him a lot of money from not having to buy a lamp… which would probably have been over $100. So, we vowed to grab it the next time we were over (drove a too small car that day) or they would drop it off if they were in the neighborhood. Neither of those things quite happened for quite awhile... for months actually.

A couple of weekends ago, while we were out exploring, we got a call asking if we were home. We weren't, so we had a nice surprise waiting when we got home. The next weekend, I made it over to Target and found a lampshade for about $20. I was surprised they still sold the kind that attach to the wire piece that goes above the light bulb. I thought I was going to have to rig together something to make the 'attach at the socket' kind work.

I like it. Something is bent somewhere in that lampshade wire contraption and I still don't have it quite right... It looks fine at some angles and not at others, I try to fix it and it looks fine at different angles and not at some other ones. Weird. I tried to see if I could find any info online about it, but I haven't been successful yet. I don't have much to go off of either… I haven't been able to find a maker's mark yet.

But it looks good over in the corner and it's unique. We've only had people come through the house quick since we've had it, so there haven't been any comments on its weirdness/awesomeness/etc. yet...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Eames House Bird

Every year for my birthday, my mom makes me give her a birthday list. I've been keeping a wish list on Amazon for quite some time. I usually actually forget what's even on there, which helps with the surprise portion. Usually I just give my mom the list along with a few things that aren't on Amazon because they're store specific items or whatever.

I was quite surprised when I opened up my birthday present and found the Control Brand Base Study Bird Sculpture I had thrown on my wish list earlier this year. This is a "knock off" of the Eames House Bird, but there is a funny thing about that... Anything that isn't exactly what Charles and Ray Eames is a knock off. This article, Eames House Bird Sighting, probably has the best, short bit of info that covers the bird's history.

Inform Interiors | Holiday Gift Idea: Eames House Bird
The bird ended up being larger than I expected. I'm not sure why I thought he would be smaller. Either way, he's fantastic. He's fitting in quite well right now too with our Halloween decor, but he definitely won't be going away with Halloween decor when that time comes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Exterior Colors Part 2.

I want to rewind a second... and go back to my last post about the exterior colors. I figured it would be beneficial to explain where I'm going and where I'm sort of getting my ideas.

Paradise Palms: Some mid century paint colors
A while back, I came across the above on Pinterest, which is some Sherwin Williams (online the file say Sherman?) paint colors from back when. If you click the image it will enlarge and you can see the color names better. Because I knew I wanted a gray, I thought of this. The main color for the upper right color palette is Westchester Gray. Because we are limited by what the siding company has, we chose their Charcoal Smoke. Not exact, but close-ish. At least close enough to make me happy.

This 'possible palettes' color sheets also brings up some other great colors. While that Westchester Gray is matched up with Chelsea Gray and Stratford Blue, I'm really feeling that Burma Jade down the page. My first thought for a door color was for something along those lines, it was inspired by some furniture that I saw awhile back (can't remember where...) that was close to that color. I think the Burma Jade would give a great splash of color to the front of the house. (That Harvest Gold would look pretty awesome too!)

While I love mid century design, colors, etc. and our house, I'm not sure that this is our forever home. While I would love for everything to be more period appropriate, I don't want to put in too many permanent things that will make it difficult to sell later on down the road if that's what we choose to do. Our bathroom is a great example of this, especially since it wasn't the original bathroom anyways.

I think next up, we need to make a trip to the paint store and get some of those paint swatches and figure out what will work best. I do have a feeling I will have to wait until spring to paint though... it's getting cold here really fast.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Exterior Colors.

This whole "let's do a bunch of work on the house and hire it out" is not going very fast. At. All. Our windows and doors have been ordered and our contractor is finishing up other jobs while waiting for that stuff to come in. Last night we picked out our exterior colors! Which is way more exciting that I thought, but also very anti-climatic.

I knew that I wanted something a little more bold. Let's face it, our house is U.G.L.Y. The exterior is one of about 4 reasons I didn't want to even look at the house. The color is gross and I didn't want to really deal with the type of siding (I.E. not maintenance free). Let's all be thankful that someone had painted it since its previous color, because that color probably glowed in the dark.

Our street is full of white and beige. Very uneventful. The year before we bought, a pretty nasty storm came through and most everyone with vinyl siding got new. It seems as though the wood stuff held up too well... So, most everyone is rocking fairly new siding, except us wood people, who just got paint jobs. The most interesting house is probably across the street with a nice medium blue and in second would be down a few from us with a light green.

My immediate, pre-sample thoughts were gray. A dark-ish gray. Gray is my go-to neutral right now. While I might be bordering on maybe having a little too much around the house, I'm 99% sure I won't get sick of it over time. My other thought about gray is that it goes with most any bold, bright color. That means that I can paint my front door a crazy color or my choice, get sick of it after a couple of years and paint it a new crazy color. I've got the first color in mind for our new door.

Looking through the siding colors, there were either very light grays or one dark gray. After going back and forth a little, because we weren't sure if the gray was reading brownish or it was just the lighting, we settled on that dark gray. Charcoal Smoke to be exact. As far as the trim, we're just going for a nice, bright white. We not replacing our gutters (they're new after that storm mentioned above), so we wanted the trim to not be too different than that. Plus, there is one house up the street that I probably like the best because of the contrast between the dark beige / maybe brown siding and the nice bright white trim.

And there you have it, a lot of words to just say that we picked dark gray and white. 

The samples didn't photograph very well, so hopefully you get the idea...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September Wrap Up

September was extremely busy! My nephew was born! He's so adorable and perfect, I can't get over it. My mom got married. We finally got to go see Wicked, which was fantastic. I got the tickets about 6 months ago, so we've been anxiously awaiting the date. We did our fall camping trip, which was super wet, but great. I did not get much of anything done around the house... Our windows and doors are ordered and we're waiting for them to arrive.

And there is nothing to cross of September's list... Oops.

September To Do:
  • Finish my kitchen ceiling eye sore.
  • Pick out fixtures for the front of the house - new siding and windows means new light fixture and whatnot. We've looked at tons and I think we have them picked out, but we just need to commit.
October To Do:
  • Decorate for Halloween!
  • Commit to exterior light fixtures and purchase!
  • Decide on door hardware for the front and back doors.
  • Lock down the front door color?
 Hopefully it stays warm this fall and winter comes really late. Hopefully.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trouble Maker...

Where did he get the idea that this was ok....?

I don't really know what he was looking at / for. He's just as bad as a toddler some days. What a trouble maker.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Noerenberg Memorial Gardens

Things might finally get a little more normal here... I know I've been MIA for over a week, but life has been insanely busy. Over the weekend, my mom got married!

The ceremony was held at Noerenberg Memorial Gardens in Orono, MN, which is very close to where I grew up and somehow I had never been there. It's a very popular place for senior photos, homecoming/prom photos, and weddings & wedding photos. We actually had a wedding group and a homecoming group there to do photos before we started. I only had a chance to grab a few photos because I was busy being in them and walking my mom down the aisle with my sister.

If you're in the area, especially if you're looking for a great place to take some photos, definitely check it out!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Finished Quilt.

I finished the quilt for my sister's son the day she was due. Luckily (?), she didn't go into labor early. In fact, we had to wait a whole extra week to finally meet him. He is absolutely perfect. Our whole family is in love with him.

But since I mentioned it and already shared some photos of the quilt in progress, I figured it would be good to show off the finished product.

It's definitely not perfect, but for my first attempt at a real pattern (instead of just random squares, not worrying about lining things up), it's not bad. 

It's a little wrinkly... even though it is the one thing I've ironed more than anything else. Ever.

Just went with super simple on the back. I wanted to add a little something, so I did a little quick "embroidery" on a what I was calling a patch. It ended up as more of a handle. Hopefully it holds up and he doesn't rip it out... 

I had my sister open it up as soon as she could after the baby was born. I thought it would go much differently then what it did, but she likes it (which is what I was going for). Now, hopefully baby boy likes it too when he's old enough to take notice.