Sunday, November 20

fall-ing a little behind..

It seems like every store I go in has Christmas music playing, Santa is at the mall, and I'm already feeling behind on my Holiday shopping.  Still, it's not even Thanksgiving yet!  And to make matters worse, I haven't even shared my autumn mantle-- what type of home blogger am I?  All the bloggers I read have their homes halfway (if not completely) decorated full-Martha for Christmas... and I am doing good to show you a few puny pics of our mantle for Fall.

I love fall colors, and used some leftovers from our recent Craft Night to make a new wreath for November.  I used felt and burlap to make a few different types of flowers.

I mixed that in with a few fabric pumpkins from years past, and a leafy garland I picked up at a yard sale.  It's a simple mantle, without many new additions but it'll do for this year.

So even though I've been slacking on posting project as of late...hopefully I can redeem myself over the next few posts with some Christmas crafts and one of my bigger projects that I am still not done with -- but am as close to finished as I will be until after the hustle and bustle of the Holidays.

Friday, November 18

you've been framed

I'm a bit behind on sharing some of the updates around our nest.  We tackled a few projects back to back, and I'm just now uploading the pictures and posting the results.  One of the rooms I was dying to attack was our guest bathroom.  It was just really blah and didn't have much going on.  We don't really have the budget or time to make any huge changes, so a fresh coat of paint and some small upgrades will have to do.

I've seen this all over the blogosphere, and I knew our builder basic bathroom could use the facelift that framing our giant blah mirror could provide.
It's just glued to the wall, and really seemed dated to me.  Nothing was particularly wrong with the setup, but I felt it was an area that we could have some fun with.

I picked up some moulding from Home Depot and had it cut close to the size I needed.  I just had to miter the corners, and thankfully the Man took over the sawing.  He's got a bit more upper arm strength than my wimpy self.. it took him about 1/8th of the time per cut than it was taking me.

After we cut everything, I had to figure out how to assemble it all.  It was a pretty trying process (which is why there are no pictures!)  I was a little frustrated and didn't have a good system in place.  After a series of staple gunning, wood gluing and general rigging, the frame was ready to be caulked and painted.

I did a first coat of white trim paint, but the finish wasn't as smooth as I wanted.  I sanded everything down, and then followed up with a few coats of gloss white spraypaint.
I love this stuff!  It coats so evenly and looks awesome!
I let it cure for a while (about 3 days) before attempting to hang the mirror.
I used one of my favorite tools -- command picture hooks-- to mount the frame onto the mirror.  They are so easy to use and don't damage any of the surfaces you stick them to. So far, they've been holding just fine and it's been about two months.
I think it made quite a change, and I really like how the white frame lightens up that corner of the tiny bathroom.

For a side by side comparison:
The frame makes a big difference.  A few other small changes, like the new outlet the Man installed, and a towel holder which was a $1 yard sale find. The hand towel I found on clearance at Target.. I love those little red clearance stickers. It makes me so happy!

We still have a few other changes to make, but for now--
this facelift makes me smile every time I pass our mini-bath.

Have you made any mini-updates lately?

Friday, November 11


One of the biggest challenges I run into, due to my sentimentality, is finding a way to fit a few family heirlooms into our mish-mosh style at the nest.  I would say our style is pretty casual, contemporary with a heavy dose of traditional.  This sounds ideal for incorporating ikea pieces with a few carefully chosen antiques.. but some family heirlooms I've recieved are a bit more on the quirky or dated side.

A recent acquisition is a lamp which has been in limbo for a few years.  My Sweet Grandma had the matching set in her "formal" living room.  Mother Dear made them for her during a ceramics phase.  When they were initially offered to me, I was hesitant. This lamp is a beast.  It's a huge piece, and we don't have the space.  Plus, burnt orange, avacado green, brown and gold don't exactly "go" with what I had at my (then) apartment.. so I declined.  The Dad took them, and recently offered them to me again. 

Although I was torn, I put them both for sale at my yard sale a few months back.  One found a new home, the other ended up in my "project pile."  I finally realized that I couldn't bear to get rid of it.  There was something about it I liked....
..but that color scheme had to go.
So I did what every newbie to DIY would do.  I spraypainted it white.
Gloss white to be exact.  And I love it.  It's modern, but reminds me of Sweet Grandma at the same time.

Now to find a shade that'll fit (the lamp, our decor, and my tight budget)...

Monday, October 31

1,215 treats later...

Happy Halloween!

This year, the Man and I were prepared.  We've been stockpiling all September and October long..
We had a blast with the trick-or-treaters last year.  But we ran out too soon.

This year, we were able to keep the porch light on for about 2 hours.

We gave out over 1,215 treats...
in two hours.
That's over 10 treats per minute. Whew!

Yeah, we're the awesome house on the least Iron Man/Thor/a random TMNT thought so.

Hope your Halloween was full of fun, stocked with spooks, and coated in chocolate!

Thankfully we remembered to save a few treats back for ourselves....
... beware Mr. Reese's cup.. your time is up!

Friday, October 28

spraypaint a thon

A few weeks back, I decided to have a little spray-paint party.  I had a collection of thrifted and yard sale frames and mirrors, as well as a lamp and light fixture that were all in need of a facelift.

After taping everything off with my favorite Frog tape,
I spread everything out on some cardboard in the garage.
And went to town with primer,white gloss, and brushed nickel paint.

One thing I need to remember, anytime you paint in a closed space-- even with ventilation-- overspray is always an issue.  Thankfully the Man was very forgiving when he saw the white "dust" all over everything in the garage.

very forgiving...

Next time, I'll spraypaint outside.  I promise.

Tuesday, October 25

brassy to classy

I'm not a big fan of brass.  Our bathroom light fixture was all brass. Granted the bones of it were pretty, and somewhat similar to the style I liked for our kitchen.  The Man knew as soon as I asked him to remove it, that I had plans for it.. although I reasurred him that we were saving money!
I taped off the fixtures with my favorite Frog Tape.
I used two coats of spray primer, followed by two coats of Rustoleum Universal Satin Nickel.
We replaced the globes with some rejects from our kitchen cieling fan, and the Man mounted the light upside down (by my request). It had previously been hung with the globes facing down, however that would make the mirror frame a bit tight-- and I wanted to emphasize what little height we have in the bathroom.

This picture is a little dark, but I had to turn the light out to get a somewhat decent picture. 
Not too shabby for a $7 fix.

Have you spraypainted a light fixture before? Any tips?

**Edit: The Man wanted me to remind everyone that spraypainting the "screw holes" could lead to extreme frustration to the installer, and to make sure and not mess up the threads.

Yes, sir.  I'll try to remember that next time.. :)  You'll be amazed what a silver sharpie can fix, just sayin'.**

Saturday, October 22

a cabinet conundrum..

The other day, I was walking through the kitchen and noticed something alarming.  I believe my exact words to the Man were "Honey, I think we have a problem..."

One of our cabinets had come loose.  It was barely hanging in place about two inches from the wall. 
I didn't take any pictures at the time, because I was so stunned. 
We instantly cleared all the dishes and glassware from the cabinet, the Man grabbed his screwgun and went to work.  A few minutes later, things were much more secure.

The next day, our cube cabinet started doing the same thing.  I had about 30 cookbooks in it, and I guess that was just too much for the screws (which once again, must have missed the studs) to handle. Surprisingly, the cabinets have held for almost a year. After the Man attacked this with about 10 more screws, we had the ultimate quality tester give it a try..
Our 20 pound Loki-monster decided the empty cabinet was a perfect hang-out spot.
He seemed pretty happy, but I'm hoping to find a lightweight storage solution that won't strain the cabinet like my 30+ cookbooks did.
We finally got him out the cabinet, but I'm glad the Man's fix kept our cabinets on the wall.  Even with the cats exploring every nook and cranny. I'm so grateful that it didn't turn into a larger repair.

Have you had any surprising repairs recently? 

Thursday, October 20

towel bar trouble

In been prepping to paint our guest bathroom, part of the fun (between the taping, sanding, re-caulking and hole-patching) has been removing our lovely towel bars.  I'm not a fan of the spotty chrome that's flaking in places and hope to replace them with something more our style.
It doesn't help that the previous owners globbed paint around the edges.. which led to prying the towel bar off the wall.

And there's more!  Along with the gloopy paint ridge, I found remnants of more wallpaper..
How lovely!  Hunter green, pink, mauve, navy, cream, and gold... for some reason this makes me think of the "Fresh Prince" mansion.  Why?  I have no idea.
Other than a few surprises, it was really simple to remove the towel bars.  I was pretty unsure where to start, but I followed these steps and it took maybe 5-10 minutes to remove three towel bars:
  1. Find the teeny hidden screw at the underside of the bar mounts.
  2. Unscrew using a teeny precision flathead screwdriver (and if needed use a razor-blade to cut through gloopy paint) slowly work the towel bar mount loose from the wall.
  3. Once the bar is removed, use a phillips head to remove the mounts from the wall.
  4. Patch holes and sand smooth.
Pretty simple.  In my case, I had to soak a sponge in HOT water and use the barely moistened sponge to loosen the wallpaper adhesive.  It took a few minutes before I could carefully peel the wallpaper off.  I made sure to let things dry out before patching and sanding.

I'm hoping we can find some cool towel bars on clearance somewhere that are more our taste. 
This Fontaine set on Overstock looks pretty neat.. but is expensive!
  I'm also drawn to the "Preston" by Moen.  I found these at Home Depot and they're closer to our price range.
For now, I'll keep my eyes open for a good deal... hopefully I can cling to patience and my stubborness to not spend more than my budget allows.

Tuesday, October 18

going batty..

With all that's been going on around the nerdy nest, it would seem like there wouldn't be time for crafting.. oh no..not so!

I continued the tradition of girl's craft nights with some of the awesome ladies from the office.  This time around, it was decided we were making yarn-wrapped wreaths or wreaths adorned with felt flowers.  I was determined to add some fun to my Halloween decor, so I went with a lime, purple and black color scheme.

I really like the way the colors play off the papercut I made for last year's Halloween mantle.

I also took some glittery foam bats ($1/pack at JoAnn's), remaining yarn, and lots of hot glue to make a garland while we finished off some of the potluck goodies and cracked up while watching "Bridesmaids." That movie is hilarious!
For a final view of the mantle, you can see where I added in some spiderwebs, my vintage ceramic haunted house (made by Dear Mother) during her ceramics phase, our "House on the Hill" papercut from last year, the Man's favorite skull candle, and a few Target clearance headstones from the 80% off bin last Halloween.
The tall black candlestand (on the bottom right) is just waiting for a funky white pumpkin, a simple orange pretty, or maybe I'll finally cave and buy one of the glittery ones from the Dollar Spot at Target this week.

I still have a few things to add to our decor outside-- like a giant fuzzy purple spider, some tombstones, and hopefully a pumpkin or two, but I'll save that for closer to All Hallow's Eve.

For now, I'm doing good to not raid our stash of Halloween candy.  We've been stockpiling this year in preparation for the onslaught of little goblins like we had last year.

Have you any tricks or treats going on at your house of haunts?
Are you feeling a bit batty this time of year?

I linked this up at the Halloween link up party over at Eighteen25.

Monday, October 17

another weekend gone..

This weekend flew by in a whirlwind, as weekends often do. Here's what I managed to cross off my weekend to do list:

+ get oil changed
+ take car to dealership to replace super special can't find anywhere else wiper blades
+ take books/cd's to Hastings to sell
+ try not to spend any money on books at Hastings  (FAIL! I did only spend part of the store credit I recieved from selling my used books.  I found two used books by one of my favorite authors Jen Lancaster. She's hilarious!)
+ run by the library and drop off magazines for the free bin (and maybe a quick visit with Dear Mother)
+ check out a few thrift stores for some CHEAP books (to prep for down time since I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next week) I found some awesome chick lit books for about $.50-$.75 each, and three wedding planning books.  Yes, I'm that type of girl.  Guilty as charged.
+ go out to the Dad's place with the Man to help him clean out part of his shop
+ start attacking the PILES of laundry I finished 2 of the 5 loads Saturday night!
+ fix my Halloween wreath where the ribbon fell off, again I forgot to do this one.. and it was bugging me when I left for work this morning!
+ chill with the Man

+ finish the laundry I still have one more load to put away.
+ wash dishes
+ clean kitchen!
+ attack the rest of the house with a cleaning vengeance! Yeah.. apparently I wasn't feeling too vengeful Sunday...
+ attend a Willow House party hosted by one of my favorite B's
+ try not to spend too much $$ at said party Okay, so I bought something.. but it's versatile, and pretty.. and I'll use it all the time!!
+ meet up and tour potential wedding venue Done and LOVE!!
+ maybe figure out a meal plan for the week Close enough to a plan.. ish.
+ prep for the work week.. yay!

So I got a lot done, but I have so much more to do this week before I'm out of commission for a while.. yay wisdom teeth.. :-/

See how everyone else did over at MyHappyHouse.

Sunday, October 16

oh weekend..

I heart you.

I thought I'd play along with the Weekend Planning blog hop and try for a quick belated weekend planning post.  Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish this weekend:

+ get oil changed
+ take books/cd's to Hastings to sell
+ try not to spend any money on books at Hastings
+ run by the library and drop off magazines for the free bin (and maybe a quick visit with Dear Mother)
+ check out a few thrift stores for some CHEAP books (to prep for down time since I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next week)
+ go out to the Dad's place with the Man to help him clean out part of his shop
+ start attacking the PILES of laundry
+ fix my Halloween wreath where the ribbon fell off, again
+ chill with the Man

+ finish the laundry
+ wash dishes
+ clean kitchen!
+ attack the rest of the house with a cleaning vengeance!
+ attend a Willow House party hosted by one of my favorite B's
+ try not to spend too much $$ at said party
+ meet up and tour potential wedding venue
+ maybe figure out a meal plan for the week
+ prep for the work week.. yay!

That's just a few of the specifics on my to-do list for this weekend.  I hope everyone is having a productive and at the same time relaxing weekend.. if nothing else, the weather here is a-may-zing! So enjoy it!

Don't forget to link up with the blog hop over at MyHappyHouse.

Tuesday, October 11

a bit of nerdy news...

A week ago, on October 4th, the Man and I celebrated our third anniversary of dating. We went to Olive Garden for dinner as we do every year, somewhat recreating our first date. Plus, who doesn't love a little Italian food, those breadsticks, and the best little mints I've ever met?

We always have a good time together, and that night was no different. It was a perfect evening and I thought it couldn't get any better. I was wrong.

The Man surprised me, as we walked up to our front door, by getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him.  I was a mix of shocked, stunned and completely thrilled.  I still am and couldn't be happier.

Not only was his proposal perfectly us, but so is the story behind it all.  I'll save you from the sappiness. But I know I wouldn't be your typical (albeit nerdy) bride to be if I didn't include the requisite ring pic.

I think he did alright. ;)

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Sunday, August 28

making our house happy: week four

This week adds two more tasks to the happy house challenge, but first-- my results:

Making the bed: 7/7
Empty the sink: 3/7
Sweep the kitchen floor: 2/7
Clear the clutter: 5/7
Sort the mail: 6/7
Spray the shower: 1/7

This week was a mixed bag.  Some tasks, I can clearly stay in the habit.. others, not so much.  I think the hardest nights are when both the Man and I have worked late, dinner needs to be made, and I just don't feel like running through the house doing chores..

Still, the goal is 7/7 for the next week.  It's already pretty booked, with lots of late nights-- which adds another level to the challenge for me.  Not to mention two more tasks added to the list:

Organize the outerwear -  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to address this one.
Write it down -  If you know me, you know I <3 a to-do list. 
This one should be easy (and help with my goal of 7/7 for this week.)

How are you keeping your house happy?  Check out how everyone else is doing over at MyHappyHouse.

Tuesday, August 23

tackle it tuesday - the cabinet of doom

Meet my least favorite kitchen cabinet--- our base cabinet/pantry.

It's a perpetual disaster.  I know I've bought duplicates recently.  I finally tackled this over the weekend.
I pulled everything out, threw away or consolidated nearly empty boxes, and grouped everything in categories.  It was pretty simple and I didn't have as many duplicates as I thought (yay!)

Then, I just put everything back in the cabinet-- in a much more orderly fashion.
And, of course, because I'm lame.. I added a few tags.

Not that I needed them.  But it makes me happy.. and gives the Man something to mock me about.
(I'm not slightly OCD.. stop with your accusations.)

Sunday, August 21

a six dollar splurge

It's been a while since I last went yard sale shopping in an effort to save a little extra money.  I've been avoiding the temptation... at least, until the Man had to work on a Saturday and I was awake in time to hit a few sales before taking my car to the shop. I couldn't resist.

For the first few stops, I didn't find much.  I lucked out when I came across this cute leggy table.
It's a great size, solid wood.. with some fantastic details. It could use some TLC and maybe a fresh stain or coat of paint.

I love the woven inset, and the price couldn't be beat--- a whopping one dollar. $1!

I also fell in love with this funky mirror. I've always loved round mirrors, and even though I'm not sure where I'll put it.  It's fairly lightweight for the size which is a plus.
I think the woven texture is pretty neat and will look great painted in a gloss white, or possibly black. I bargained with the seller and finally got it to $5.00.  It's more than I'd normally pay, but I think for the size it was a pretty good price.

What are some of your latest thrifty finds?
See what other awesome stuff people have been finding!  I've linked up to:
(who was in Auburn this weekend and found some great stuff at my local haunts!)

Friday, August 19

making our house happy: week 3

I am loving the Happy House challenge over at myhappyhouse.
So far, I've been doing pretty good.  This week, I did slack a little after a long night buying groceries and a stressful few days at work.  Here's how I did:
Make the bed - 7/7
Empty the sink - 6/7
Clear the clutter - 7/7
Sweep the kitchen floor - 4/7

For this week, we're adding in two more tasks: sort the mail and spray the shower with daily cleaner. The mail will be an easy one, but the shower-- that's a challenge.  I'm trying not to buy any more cleaning supplies-- so vinegar+water it is!

To make it fun, I may pick up a cute spray bottle.  I always seem to be more willing to clean, if the supplies are cute... maybe I'm just that much of a nerd.

How did you do with the challenge?  Click here to see how everyone else did!

Tuesday, August 16

bandwagon jumper

I've stumbled upon the awesome blog: my happy house and it was immediately added to my reader. Molly has some great ideas, and I intend to provide the most sincere form of flattery and copy them ASAP! She's got some great challenges going and encourages people to blog along.  I have a teeny blog-crush.
Not only am I trying to keep up with her happy house challenge, but I am going to try and play along with her "Tackle it Tuesday" posts.  I'm notorious for letting random house tasks pile up and ignoring them until it finally drives me crazy. Since Tuesdays aren't always the best for tackling projects around our nest, I'm going to be a little loosey-goosey with the timeline.  Still, I'm going to aim for Tuesdays and hope for the best.  Besides, "Tackle it This Weekend" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I've got a few options for things to tackle tonight, but I'm thinking the master bath should be at the top of my list. I normally keep a pretty solid routine for the general house cleaning, but with my current project in the guest bathroom (post to come) I've been neglecting the master. It needs some TLC and a hearty dose of bleach, stat!

The Man will be at work late, dinner is already prepped, so tonight is the perfect night to tackle the remnanants of my weekend to-do list.

Any tasks you need to tackle around the house?  What chore do you avoid the most?

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Saturday, August 13

tomato tracking: what a crop!

This summer has been brutal! 
 Lots of HEAT, too much humidity, and too little rain, which is not good for growing (or much of anything, really.) I didn't expect much out of our little tomato garden, but the tender-loving-care and green thumb of the Man has proved me wrong! He's been on top of keeping our plants watered, fertilized, and happy.
 We've had an awesome crop of tomatoes, with plenty to share with friends and family.
We've also had some surprisingly large tomatoes-- mainly from our mis-labeled Roma vine.
I've never seen a roma tomato this big!  Thanks to the Man for modeling our monster roma.  This just seems like a huge tomato to me, I've seen insane sized tomatoes grown by the Dad and my Sweet Grandma, but I am still surprised that this madman came from our garden.
I couldn't wait to slice it up, add a little salt and pepper and dive in.

Nothing says Alabama Summer to me like crazy heavy humidity, blazing sun, and home-grown tomatoes.  My favorite being the tomatoes, of course!

How does your garden grow?  Any surprising crops?

Saturday, August 6


It may seem like there hasn't been much going on at the nerdy nest, but we've been prepping for some big changes.  Or at least, big to us. 
It's been almost a year since we tackled redoing the kitchen and painting our kitchen, livingroom, and hall.  After about 5 months of chaos due to our drawn-out kitchen update, the Man decreed a moratorium on home improvement projects.  In that time we've just been plugging along with home maintenence and making small tweaks with decor. But I've been patiently waiting to tackle some of our other rooms.

I mentioned brainstorming my office updates, but that's going to be a drawn out project since I'm waiting on the perfect furniture to define the space.  However, we have a few other rooms that are desperate for some updates.  The previous homeowners had very different tastes when it comes to color choices.  They preferred a yellowish beige-y brown.  In almost ALL the rooms. 

As you can remember from our living room, it takes me a few tries to decide on a color.    I want things to flow throughout the house, so I've been trying variations on my favorite color Glidden's Antique Silver (color matched to Behr).

In the kitchen, we lightened the color by 50% and I thought that might help to brighten our dark guest bathroom [the swatch on the left] and then darkened Antique Silver by 75% to try it a little more bold [the swatch on the right].   The swatches don't read true to color because the lighting in the guest bath is miserable.  Plus, you can see the lovely yellow/beige/brown underneath.  I'll probably try the swatches again once we've primed and make a final decision (or get more paint samples!)

We decided to mix things up for the master bedroom and try a few different colors....

From left to right: Smokey Charcoal, Blue Grey Slate, Antique Silver (darkened 75%), more Blue Grey Slate, Smokey Charcoal (lightened 50%) and Blue Grey Slate (again).
We wanted to go darker in here, and the Man is a big fan of dark, bold colors.  We both love blue and after looking at about 300 paint chips, we gravitated towards Glidden's Smokey Charcoal and Blue Grey Slate if you couldn't tell by the swatches above.
We'll be using the Blue-Grey Slate in the bedroom.  In our lighting, it reads as more of a deep navy which I'm really excited about. 
I love the pairing of navy with crisp white trim and linens. 
For the master bath and closet, we'll use the Smokey Charcoal to mix things up a little bit (and brighten up the darker spaces without being too drastic from the Slate color in the bedroom.)

I was a little hesitant to go for such a dark color, but now that I see the swatches on the wall-- I'm loving it and can't wait to get the room painted!
I think the colors all work pretty well together...
Do you gravitate towards certain colors?