Saturday, January 30, 2010

P is for Project

Hello, my name is Aja and I have a little... problem.

With projects.

This comes as no big surprise to me and virtually none to my husband by now, either, but I like to.. as they say.. have more than one iron in the fire when it comes to any kind of project. I just have so many ideas in my head! I'll start 2 at a time or want to rush ahead and begin something new when the first is only half way done.

Sigh... I'm working on it.

Sort of.

So I'm sure you were all expecting Part 4 in the wildly exciting internet sensation that is my Guest Bathroom Facelift. Sorry folks.

Frankly the idea of steaming my DIY shower curtain for pictures just isn't lighting my fire at the moment, so you'll have to wait a bit. But I promise I will deliver!!

So anyway, with our recent Winter Weather situation, I was able to work from home on Thursday and Friday (cue the Hallelujah choir) and had time to cross off and add to my little project to-do list.

First up: my knock-off Pottery Barn pillows. Yes, I know, these debuted quite a while ago, but well... I've had this linen fabric and wooden buttons for about 3 or 4 months with the intention of making them!

You see! Too.Many.Projects.

What do you think?? I won't go into details with how I made them.. email me if you want a full run-down.

What was that?

In the background of my pic?...


You see what??..

Oh, yes. I see what you're pointing out there. PAINT.

Yup. Moving right along. I started painting our family room (or living room?? I haven't decided it's proper name. Add to list) last night. It was time. It feels right. I like the current color (that we painted a mere year ago), but our couch and chair (not pictured) are too close to the same color and it all blends together into blah blah land. (Sorry for all the parenthesis)

So this is where you'll find me this weekend. Semi-snowed in and getting high on paint fumes. How's your weekend shaping up? Are you snowed in, too?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guest Bathroom Facelift: Part 3

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?

I'm happy to say, my guest bathroom mirror, that's who!!

GB Facelift: Part 1
GB Facelift: Part 2

Like many newer houses, ours has the builder-grade mirrors in the bathrooms, with their flat, lifeless edges making no real impact or statement in the room, other than their sheer size and reflection of every single thing in there. That just wasn't going to cut it with me. I had long ago decided that I would buy a large, framed mirror to replace the old one.

The problem was, this mirror spanned from wall to wall across the counter, which is just under 5 feet long. A mirror that size was going to be pricey, and we all know I like to cut corners, save money and DO IT MYSELF. After coming across this bathroom mirror DIY frame, I knew I could make it happen, for a fraction of the price. Insert problem #2: we don't have a saw, and the lovely fellows at Home Depot will only do so many complimentary cuts for you. So instead of having the normal, angled corners (can't think of the correct term), we stuck with straight edges to our 1x4's and came up with a plan.

Here's how it all went down:
1. I measured.
2. I drew out a little diagram to get an idea of scale and how it would all look.
3. Measured again.
4. Determined what length we needed our 1x4's.
5. Jaunt over to Home Depot during the lunch hour to purchase the wood and some Liquid Nails. (That stuff is hard core).
6. Stain the wood. This took numerous coats. I decided (foolishly), to start staining a day before the huge snow storm hit us around Christmas. So the first few coats really didn't have a chance to dry since the temperature in the garage didn't venture above about 10 degrees. I ended up bringing them into the guest room to finish staining and give them a coat of poly.
7. Install!

I started by placing the pieces against the mirror and taping them in place with painters tape to make sure everything fit correctly and evenly. Then we broke out the Liquid Nails and got to work!

You can kind of see our "design" for the corners below. I keep trying to type out a description and then delete it, because it doesn't make sense. So if you don't get it, just come over and look for yourself. :)

I wanted the stain to be a deep, dark mahogany, so I did about 5 or 6 coats. I love how the color turned out and the contrast it creates with the countertop and our new paint.

See, this is what I mean about reflecting everything in the room. I tried and tried to get a shot of the whole frame, without including my sweats-wearing self in the photo. Not going to happen.

Doesn't it instantly change the room? If I were only going to do one update to the bathroom, this would be it. It just gives it a custom look. I love it!


On a totally unrelated note, one day after submitting myself to Jillian Michael's Shred mercy, I am feeling the burn. It would be untruthful to say I even experienced the full force of her fury, since at least a third of the time, I was blatantly ignoring her commands and doing whatever exercises/movements I wanted. If you do the math on that, it's really laughable, since the video is only 20 minutes long. But we jogged beforehand and then jumped right into level 2, so that has to count for something! My two friends who did the video with me were much more obedient and didn't deviate from her instructions and I'm sure will have thinner thighs than I because of it.


Have you tried the 30 Day Shred?? Did you actually make it 30 days? We just started getting together every Saturday morning to submit ourselves to torture in the eternal search of a toned physique, so we should be done by around September. Check back with me then and I'll give a full, detailed report.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guest Bathroom Facelift: Part 2

Next up in my little Guest Bathroom Facelift, is the artwork. Because what powder room would be complete without some fancy-shmancy DIY art on the walls?

To read the eternally exciting GB Facelift: Part 1, scroll down or click here.

Step One. Find some random art pieces on clearance at TJ Maxx. These babies fit the bill:

Step Two. Lurk around in bloggy-land and find yourself some inspiration. I've always loved the work of this talented lady. (She's even doing her own bathroom makeover right now. Ack! Pressure!) I especially love this and this. Both are on my project to-do list, especially since she has been so kind as to offer up step by step instructions!!

I also came across a PB canvas piece a long time ago that was very graphic and used only numbers, which is ultimately what I went for..

Step Three. ¡De Colores! :) I couldn't resist. Translation: I painted. I had to do multiple coats to cover up the old artwork and just mixed my own formula of paint with both acrylic craft and interior wall paint. I'm sure that's against some sort of artistic rule, but I'm not losing any sleep over it.

Step Four. Print off some numbers in varying sizes, cut them out and lightly trace onto your art piece. Then paint some more. I decided to personalize it a bit by adding our wedding date: 5.3.08.

Step Five. Hang the pictures and then turn 180 degrees and realize you need something on the opposite wall. Right. Now.

I picked up these Vintage Keys from Pottery Barn last fall. I wasn't sure how/where I was going to use them, but I loved them and for 19 bucks, I figured I could splurge and use one of my year and a half old wedding gift cards. So I did.

Step Six. Get crafty. I finally decided what I wanted to do, so I hit up the Goodwill and found 2 sets of matching frames with ugly pictures for a total of $8. I ditched everything but the frames and cardboard backing and once again broke out the paint. I decided to distress the frames by sanding the edges and giving them a little Ralph Lauren Smoke Glaze love, thanks to the inspiration of these ladies. Next comes burlap and the hot glue gun, and after about an hour and a couple of burned fingertips, I ended up with this:

Step Seven. Stand back and admire your handiwork. Go poke your husband in the ribs and nod in the general direction of the bathroom until he goes in there and checks it out and showers himself with praise for marrying a crafty lady.


(Of Part 2)

Edited to add: I've linked up to A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day and Today's Creative Blog's Get Your Craft On! Go check out some other great projects!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

I am officially closer to 30 than, well... I don't know, anything! Does it matter that I don't feel like I'm in my late 20's?? I still imagine myself to be early to mid 20's.. at least until I see some 21 year old misbehaving and then I just feel like an old lady, with my disapproving sideways glances.. sigh.

Although today is my official birthday, we celebrated this weekend, and it has been one of the best birthdays I can remember! Our friends N&T came over on Friday night for dinner and Wii and it was a barrel of fun. :) Nothing birthday related, but a great way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday morning, hubby surprised me by booking a 1 hour Swedish massage, and what better way to start the day is there?? He also gave me a beautiful necklace that I have had my eye on, so he gets double points for remembering. ;) Later, I got to go do a little shopping and picked up some sassy new heels.


Saturday night we had reservations for dinner at a great local Italian restaurant. I think it was one of the best "dates" with my hubby that we've had since we got married. Nothing particularly exciting about it, other than we had a really nice time and just talked. It reminded me a little bit of a date early on in a relationship, where you're still getting to know the person and there's never a lull in the conversation. Dinner was so yummy and then we went next door to a cozy little wine bar. It was just such a nice evening with the man I love most.

So thanks to hubby-dearest for a special birthday this year!!
Love you!

Also, for my local peeps, if you are one of the few who still listens to the radio (I know- we are few!), tune into 106.1 FM, the self-proclaimed "Gen X" radio station. I wasn't entirely convinced that I am a generation x-er, until I heard Extreme's More than Words and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's Good Vibrations in the same set, and it just felt like home...

Tonight: Girl Time On the Wings of Love!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Guest Bathroom Facelift: Part 1

I am in the throes of giving our guest bathroom a thorough facelift, and thought I would share my progress in little nips and tucks.

Hehe. Get it? Nips and tucks? Nevermind.

So to get us started, I present you with the Before photos:

Lots of blah and white and blah and some blue in the shower curtain and rug. It was fine, I suppose, but I wanted some zest and spice in our Guest Loo, and that fake plant just wasn't cutting it. I only wish I could have shown you the rubber ducky border that went around the room when we first bought the house, because that really sauced it up. I may or may not have started peeling it off before we actually took possession of the property.. but that's neither here nor there.

So first up?



¡De Colores!

Yeah, yeah, I know that last one is a reach, but I couldn't resist throwing it in there. Hubby likes to exclaim "de colores" with a lot of gusto and sometimes exasperation/frustration/panache at random happenings in our household. Like if he thinks my outfit is particularly hotsy-totsy, or if the dog is driving him crazy.

We don't claim to be culturally correct.

But I digress..


I thought real long and hard about what color to go with and then settled on the can of free paint I scored from Glidden last fall. That free part just tipped me over the edge. Color of choice: Olivewood.

It's a nice, warm, neutral-y, olive color and I'm just tickled pink with how it turned out. Totally transforms the room. What do you think??

(I'm re-reading this, and sheesh, my photography skills are at an all time high. Could these pics be any more boring?? But I am trying to keep it to one little reveal at a time, thus the snore-fest pictures. Hang in there with me- I promise it will get better!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ice ice baby

Well hello there, Mr. IcicleOutMyWindow!

Please do not break off and stab some unassuming creature with your 3 foot long saber-likeness..

This is Duke's most favorite window to stare out and daydream of catching varmints and keep up his regular neighborhood watch. That sort of event might scar him for life, and insurance is refusing to pay for any more doggie therapy.

Also, if you are, in fact, some sort of record setting icicle.. please send our prize monies post-haste.

Thank you and goodnight.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside


I did not move to the South nearly ten years ago (gah!) in search of colder weather! This little arctic blast is almost more than I can take and has me (for the very first time) seriously questioning the validity of Mr. Gore's little global warming theory.. I thought it was supposed to be warmer, Al-y Boy!!?


Did you have a good New Year's?? We laid low, hanging out with friends and were home and in bed by about 12:35. Party animals, we are. I can remember just a few years back when the thought of putting on something sleeveless with super high heels (rather than boots and SOCKS) was the only way to go on New Year's Eve. And trudging through the nasty leftover snow to some lame party was all that mattered in the world. My, how I've aged... One conversation I distinctly recall this New Year's Eve was hubby and his buddies contemplating the future in 5 to 10 years and deciding who amongst them would be bald..


If that doesn't just shout middle aged, I don't know what does.

Our Christmas was also nice and relaxed this year, which is just how I like it.

Some tidbits:

Kissing Cousins

Good Friends

As you can see, I was not great at taking pictures this year. Like, at all. I did, however, redeem myself, by actually hitting up an after-Christmas sale at Target. I intend to do it every year, but usually talk myself out of it. But next year I really want to make our house festive. I'm thinking I'll throw a party and send the invites out mid-February, so that I have no way out of it.

Here's my loot. Now I just have to figure out some way to remind myself of what I bought so I don't buy it again next fall... Any tips for that??

You'll just have to guess at my color scheme or try to wrangle yourself an invite to my soiree. Very exclusive.

Thanks for all your sweet comments and prayers. We really do appreciate them.

Hope you're staying warm!

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