Thursday, December 29, 2011

Never before seen projects of 2011

Oh My. We survived Christmas and the New Year is almost upon us!! Does anyone out there make New Year's Resolutions? Mine are always super achievable, but I never can last the whole year. For example, one year I vowed to have my fingernails painted every day of the year... lasted about 2 months, which is quite a while! And last year, I decided my goal was to fill our wine cabinet up! That has been a fun task, which I've never given up on, but have never fulfilled either. The cabinet can hold 25 bottles, we usually sit somewhere around 12. Its a constantly rotating selection.

In honor of the end of 2011, I've decided to show off some things we accomplished, but never made an entire blog post for! Grab your coffee and get comfy, we've got some badass projects coming up!!

First off, I refinished a Craigslist desk. I bought it for 30 bucks, and it took about 10 hours of elbow grease, but the finished product is lovely no?

Here she is before... lots of wear in the frontal region, nothing a few rounds with the sander can't cure!!

And After!!!! Ahh... the power of white paint. The color is Oyster by Behr if anyone is interested. It has a hint of grayish purple to it. Lovely. I still haven't gotten a new chair... I did get a lamp though. I'd also like to DIY some industrial wood shelves for the wall space. Adding that to the 2012 project list.

Moving on, we sanded and stained our deck after the snowball of a repair in July. In person the difference is pretty dramatic, in pictures a little boring, but we did it nonetheless!

Here is a little in progress shot. On the left is the dirty side, right is after some scrubbing and deck cleaner. Kind of ridiculously amazing right? 

 Top is untreated, bottom is after one coat of stain and protectant. Incredible!!!

The finished product!!!! You can see the obvious difference of the boards we replaced, but at least now they are all protected from the elements, and not collapsing under foot.

I also sprayed some terra cotta pots with chalk paint, and planted some rosemary!!! It's dead now though... 

We also swapped out our house numbers, after our friends made fun of us relentlessly... Here is what the frumpy before looked like... 

And after!!! We had an old piece of wood in the garage that happened to be the perfect width for our new numbers, so we sprayed on some stain and away we went!! This change makes a huge difference in de-granny-fying our home. (Which is a great topic for a post... keep your eyes peeled!) 

Continuing around the outside of our home, we built in a firepit!! As discussed previously in our backyard tour, our home sits upon an ancient lava flow.  One area of it had a natural wall, which we decided would be the perfect backdrop for our firepit. Most of the other rocks were mined from around our yard and the rockpile aka Porcupine Butte that is right behind our property. Now James can build giant fires... he is so happy. 

The wonderful thing about building a firepit out of rocks is that the heat radiates out as the fire winds down, it seems to be much more efficient at warming up the surrounding area. We love it, and can't wait for it not to be 15 degrees at night anymore so we can enjoy it again. 

And finally, we gussied up our oak kitchen cabinets with some hardware. It makes such a difference, and I can't wait until we finally buck up and paint them. It will be a whole new kitchen!! 

They're even I swear. Its the camera angle!!

Whew! We did accomplish quite a bit, between both working full time, taking over a month of vacation, and raising our furry family. Here's to 2012, and all that we will accomplish in the new year! Like getting married!!! Any secret projects you accomplished? I'd love to hear all about it!!

I'm sharing these projects at Southern Hospitality's Top Projects Party!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From our family to yours...

Wishing you the merriest of Christmas Days! Laugh too much, eat too much, drink too much, and enjoy yourselves!!
Family Self-Portrait... slightly dysfuntional, just like us! 

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and are looking ahead to 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gifts from Afar

Well here we are friends. Rounding the corner on the colorful and crazy block that is Christmas Week! J and I (well at least I) have all my shopping D-U-N Done! besides a few small stocking stuffers. It feels good. I started early this year and was pleased when all my larger purchases were made by the first week of December. Its given me more time to relax and go on a cookie baking spree!!! I work with a crew of sugar lovers, so I bring the majority of them to work. Happy co-workers = happy workplace.
Today I just wanted to share a little change I made to our Fall Wish Tree, as well as a cool little ornament I received in the mail earlier this week. 

First up, the tree!!! You all remember the easy craft I made for Fall and our wedding a few weeks back. I am super obsessed with the gnarly, organic shape of this branch, so I moved it into our bedroom and took off all the tags, replacing them with colorful shatterproof (aka puppy proof) balls!

Our bedroom has been one of the last places to receive much decor of any sort since we moved in. We made the epic mistake of painting it the same Peanut Butter color as our living room, and haven't done anything about it since. The funny thing is, our bedroom faces North, and the color is much more comforting in that space. It honestly doesn't bother me as much, I think its the lack of natural light. It warms the room up. Either way, our bedroom will eventually  become a soothing gray, with accents of white, coral and navy blue, but that's a whole other blog post.

The wish tree is perched upon one of my first furniture makeovers, a cabinet that my mother gave me when I moved out. It was a wham-bam-sand and stain job, but you have to start somewhere right? I like it.

In my blog crawling as of late, I came across Julia's blog, a living space. I found her through Hi Sugarplum's holiday craft party, and her Oregon Ornaments she linked up! As an Oregon girl, it was like a moth to flame when I saw that project, I was dying!! So of course I left a comment, spilling my guts about my love for her craft, and Miss Julia emailed me back, asking if I wanted one!!!!
Of course I replied YES!!!!, then ran around the house like a crazy person I was so excited!! She glazed the heart in purple (fave color duh) and sent it off right away!

Doesn't it look fabulous on our tree?  It makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse of it. Also, I find that this a perfect example of blogging and how powerful it can be. Here is someone I never would have met, but came across by chance, and now I have an object they created in my home, and the buds of a new friendship. Before I started a blog, I was drawn into the world of kind and passionate people all sharing their creativity, and this is a real life example of that. And I am thankful for blogland and all that it contains. 

So on that note, Merry Christmas to all!!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

{Day Off} Toketee Falls

Alternate post title: The day I went crazy and drove for 9 hours to get a puppy with a mouth full of dagger teeth.

I have been meaning to write this up for a couple months now, since I took this trip back in October but... life gets in the way sometimes you know?? The route that Sammy and I took to get to Roseburg from Bend took us past Crater Lake, Oregon's only National Park, and along the North Umpqua River. I've only been to the North Umpqua once before, to ride bikes with James on the North Umpqua Trail, more specifically the section known as Dread and Terror. Yep. You can imagine what it was like.

View Larger Map

As you can see, the route took us straight through the Umpqua National Forest. The scenery of the area is absolutely spectacular, and in my humble opinion, is the most beautiful and scenic river in Oregon.

So on this day, on our way to Roseburg, Sammy and I decided to stop at the legendary Toketee Falls. Since getting engaged, I've been trying to get my fitness on regularly, so I figured we could run the trail.

It was a spectacular Fall day, we enjoyed the scenery immensely. Double bonus, only one other car was there, so Sammy got to  be off leash. He loves that.

The trail is probably 2/3rds of a mile, so it was pretty short and sweet, but the falls at the end is so rewarding!! 
The river plunges over a sheer basalt cliff (those rock columns are a distinctive feature of basalt), before continuing on merrily downstream. If you look closely, in the bottom left of the photo you will see a sweet riverside dwelling...

Here is a closer look.

I don't know how someone got down there to build the hut from driftwood, but its sweet for sure!! The river is in a basin surrounded by sheer cliffs here, the viewing platform is actually suspended from trees!! That's a real piece of work. 

The light was spectacular filtering through the trees on this afternoon, and the moss covered trees and rocks reminded me of why I love Oregon so much. The natural wonders in this state and the opportunities to get outside are endless. It is truly magical.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Christmas Mania!!

Want to see what else I've done on my days off? Explore Tumalo Falls and Mt. Hood with us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Third Annual Christmas Tree - Inside Edition!

Hello hello lovely lovers!
Welcome back to knowing more than you ever need to about a tree we chopped down in the woods! If you didn't catch the details of our hunt yesterday, click here!

As I'm sure all of you know, photographing a Christmas Tree all lit up and shining is next to impossible! Especially if your rocking a Canon Powershot like me, but editing tools make it slightly easier. Only slightly.

Without further ado, here is our tree this year!

Each year, we place it next to the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and office. Our ceilings have a lovely peak, and our giant tree last year could only fit in this place. I personally wanted to switch up the location, but old habits die hard with my hubs, so it went in the same location. This placement has got me jonesing to make a couple tweaks to our furniture placement, which again was done right when we moved in and hasn't changed. James is resistant every time I try to convince him. Why are men like that? I'm just gonna do it, and see what he has to say about it. Woah tangent... 

Since we are still so new at this whole decorate-for-the-holidays thing, we went basic, using what we have already. I am a huge fan of white lights on the tree, thus making our colorful array of ornaments stand out more. For filler between our special ornaments, we bought several large boxes of shatter proof balls, just in case any sneak into a puppy's curious mouth. We also refrained from decorating the lower third of the tree with anything but lights. Big shiny balls that sway back and forth are just too tempting for the baby.

Each year, we buy a special ornament that speaks to us to add to our tree. Our first year together we got our initials, complete with some blinging crystals. 

Last year James got a Rottweiler pup wearing a Santa Hat, and I got some dangly silver stars. 
sorry for the blur, night shots = difficult
For our engagement party, we received two bicycle ornaments in appropriate colors of red and green.

Last year, my momma sent me home with a box of Christmas decor that I  loved when I lived with them, as well as several yearly ornaments from my childhood, so of course my hero had to make his appearance on the tree.

The whole shebang is topped off with my DIY tree topper. Cute, no?! I made it last year, and it promptly fell apart in storage, so it was reassembled using my bff, hot glue. 

Pretty easy if anyone wants to try at home, I just found five sticks of similar size, arranged them in a way I liked, hot glued the corners together, wrapped some shiny silver ribbon around, gave it a light mist with silver spray paint, attached the red ribbon for some flair, and used twine to make a loop to mount it on the tree!!! Got all that? I can make another with a better tutorial if anyone is interested. Let me know. I love the simple and rustic look it adds to our tree. Plus, by using things I had on hand (aka sticks from my yard) it added up to a low cost of FREE!!! Booyah! 

In closure here is a final shot, during the day. 

Something so beautiful about a Christmas Tree. 

And see all those gifts? All for James, from me.
He needs to get on it. Hopefully he has referenced my list from earlier this week, and gotten me some sweet gifts. 

So how is shopping going at your home? Any tree traditions you can't let go? 

I'll be linking up to the Christmas Cheer party at Honey were Home!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Third Annual Christmas Tree Hunt!

Hello hello my fine friends! Welcome to the third edition of our family Christmas Tree Hunt, and the first that has gone viral! (Unless you are my friend on FB, then you've likely seen the last 2 years of trees.)

This year's hunt has taken us to the forest outside of Sisters, Oregon, where a fine mix of Pine and Fir yields the perfect holiday tree, if one only searches hard enough!!
Each year, the Forest Service in Oregon offers tags to go cut-your-own trees in the National Forest for the low cost of $5. Yep, heard that right, five big ones for a perfect tree, which also benefits your forest by helping to thin the woods, thus decreasing fire hazards come summer.
There are a few simple rules that must be followed :
- Trees must be less than 15' in height.
- The tree you cut must be within 12' of another tree.
- The tree must be at least 300' from any water source, and 150' from any roads.

Pretty simple right?
So James and I packed up the boys and headed out HWY 242, The McKenzie River highway, outside Sisters Oregon. It was a beautiful sunny day, and all sorts of people were out, dogs and kids playing in the dusting of snow, barbeque's and firepits blazing. We drove down a dirt forest service road until we found a stand of Firs nearby. Then we got out and started hiking.

Among the statuesque Ponderosa Pines, White Firs and Douglas Firs, we found an ancient lava flow. The only sounds were birds chirping, a light breeze rustling the pine needles, and in the distance, shouts of joy from other families enjoying the afternoon.

I snapped a pic of this tree, which I liked but James didn't, just in case we needed to remember it. Ha! As if trees can be so easily identified by a picture. 
After a couple hours of tromping though the woods, we found our perfect tree. It actually had a split near the base, and another, smaller tree was growing from the same stump, so we felt really good about our choice, since the tree will continue living even though we took part of it. At this point, Cash was also pretty tired, so it was time to head back to the truck. 

Look at those belly rolls! He's got some skin to grow into! 

Here is our tree, all loaded up and ready to drive back to Bend. The boys took it upon themselves to load up. The woods are great for tiring out wild puppies.

We got the tree all decorated and trimmed up but.... you have to wait until tomorrow to see!!! I must admit, its our best one yet.
See for yourself...

This is last years... barely under 15'... it was insanely huge. 

And this is 2009, our first tree together. This one was so tiny, James carried it out with one hand!! It was a Charlie Brown tree for sure. 

Anyone else head to the forest to chop down a tree the old fashioned way? I grew up going to local tree farms and hunting down the perfect tree with my family. I love continuing the tradition with my family now! 
Be back tomorrow with our tree, decked out for the holidays!! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Get in my Stocking!!

Or on the floor/under the tree nearby if you can't fit.
Although my handsome lover face man is an excellent gift giver, I decided he needed a handy list to access during his shopping adventures. And in case my family and friend needed any hints...

I need this Slipper Chair from World Market. It needs to live in an empty corner in our Master Bedroom, where I can perch upon it and sip my coffee, while contemplating life.

This gorgeous rose gold Marc Jacobs watch. It belongs on my wrist. That rich, warm gold tone has me swooning already.

Two years ago, J and I were walking around downtown Bend, and happened to pass the local handbag shop, Clutch. I was drawn to the window, where a glorious mustard yellow purse hung. "I want that!" I shouted, as James continued down the street. 3 weeks later, I opened a giant box and there was my purse! Three cheers for a man who pays attention, but pretends he isn't! Since then, I have received another Ellington Purse as a gift, and I am hoping for the third this year. This one would be just perfect. I really need a cross body bag, but I love the idea of being about to convert it to a handbag. Yummy. And Ellington is an Oregon company, so more cheers for supporting the local (state) economy.

Since becoming engaged, my trusty left hand ring has become displaced. I having been wanting a right hand ring for a while, and I think this Infinity ring would be glorious. Its even my size!!

So... I love music. Especially in the car. And I like to bump my beats as loud as possible without drawing too much attention to my ghetto-fab Subaru. And this has caused me to blow a speaker. Which makes my car even more G-fab. So I would really like some new speakers. Please. And J to install them. Please.

And thats about it. In my stocking I'd like to see some gray nail polish, maybe some pretty headbands, a big pack of bangles since mine have all been lost or broken. I'd also like some short athletic socks, and maybe a gift certificate for a massage. Or some gift cards. To JCrew, Nordstrom, Gap, or Banana Republic, cause I want some new clothes!!!

And I think that's about it. For now. What are you friends asking your family for? Did I miss anything critical?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peeks of Christmas Cheer

Holla holla my fine friends!
Man, I am such a bad blogger. Either that, or I am just super busy, and it seems like every day I have more and more to do! Yikes! Between work and our crazy expansion that is happening in like 5 weeks,  taking care of a sweet baby puppy who is growing like a dandelion (crazy fast), trying to squeeze in wedding planning, holiday preparations, AND, my best friend just got engaged too!!! Seriously now!
I feel thankful when I can get 8 hours of sleep.

Anyhoo... last night I decided to pull out our box of Christmas decor and start fancying up the place for the holiday. First things first, I swapped out our Bath and Body Works wallflower for my favorite, 'Cranberry Woods', to get the house all stinkified and put me in the mood for decorating. Do smells do that to you as well? I need to smell the seasonality.

I swapped out the front door wreath for my DIY ornament wreath I made last year.

I also added some ornaments to the trunk of my tricycle planter, which I found at TJ Maxx last summer.

It is the cutest little planter, but don't be fooled, its a killer! I have tried several different plants in this bad boy, and none have survived. I am blaming the bike, since I'd give myself an A- on keeping plants alive. I'm pretty good...

I also decided to revamp my NOEL sign I created last year. It began as an attempt to knock off Pottery Barn's hella spendy but hella cute version. Here is how it looked last year:

Pretty basic, got the job done. Also pretty flimsy, as I had the whole thing precariously held together with just hot glue.

Here is the 2011 shiny new version:

I simply painted a canvas bright white, and lightly brushed silver paint over it, then attached the letters (which are MDF and from Michaels), with epoxy. Man that stuff is schtinky. Phew. But now its much more durable, and the canvas gives it more substance on my 'mantle'. (We don't have one, boohoo) 

I plan on adding much more seasonal decor to this shelf my mantle, when I have time of course. The one thing I don't seem to have enough of. But I love the sign, it makes me feel in the spirit, and I love how its neutral color, makes Cruzie's Memory Ball on its DIY candle stand pop!
Its so bizarre to me that the wall is now a different color, but it looks orangey still to me. Ugh. That paint color will never stop haunting me.

So that's the Christmas that has shown up at our casa these days. Hopefully this weekend we will get our tree, and then the madness can really start!
In conclusion, here are some adorable pics of my babies. Cash will be 14 weeks old tomorrow, is excelling in puppy kindergarten, and still doesn't sleep past 7:30am. Sigh. Happy holidays friends!

I was holding a treat, which is why they are so focused and serious. I love doggie focused faces. Isn't Cash huge?!! And Sammy, handsome and dapper as always. I love his silver whiskers that are appearing. He's aging well. 

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