my, where has the time gone?

Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was writing the “Goodbye, 2013” post.  I posted a couple times after that and next thing I know here I am at May, 2016!! WTF!

So what have I been up to? Let’s see. After the writing desk redo I just got super lazy and also didn’t have any notable projects going on. 2015 came and our property manager told us that they wouldn’t be renewing our lease. I knew that day was coming! The high rise we lived in is a condominium, but after the housing crash they had trouble selling and allowed some people to rent. We knew all along that if the market picked back up, we’d be out on the street.

Knowing that we were going to probably move to the ‘burbs, we thought it would be a good time to spend a year in a crappy, cheap apartment near where we want to live to get a feel for the commute and the area before we committed.  Moving from the Edgecliff sure was a sad day. In winter 2006 I left my parents’ house in the suburbs and moved downtown. Since then, I generally stayed in or close to the city center. I absolutely loved living at the Edgecliff and near Eden Park, but was constantly stir crazy. I wanted a place with a yard and garage and outdoor area, and some separation from the neighbors.

The day we packed up and moved to the world’s most uninspiring apartment complex in the ‘burbs was rough. It was the first time I was moving somewhere that didn’t feel like an improvement over the last place – instead, it was a temporary move that was strictly utilitarian. We spent 2015 saving even more than we had been before, with an eye on buying a house in 2016. When I have a goal in mind I get tunnel vision and hyper-focused. So, with that goal in mind came a whole lot of spending nothing, doing nothing, and being bored. 2015 was at once one of the most dull and most useful years of my life. It served its purpose well but boy, was it BORING!!! It’s amazing what you can do when you resign yourself to utter boredom for 12 months. I already knew this, though – I went to law school.

I dreamed about owning my own house since I was a little kid. On labor day weekend we went to an open house, as we had been doing all of 2015. Here’s a tip for you: when you buy a house you should know what you want. You will only know what you want if you’ve spent months or years ACTUALLY GOING TO LOOK at houses when you’re not in a position to buy.  There are things I thought I loved or hated or had to have or didn’t want, and over the course of a couple years I figured out what things “stuck” for me as priorities/dealbreakers and which things were passing fads in my mind. Had I been in a position to buy before I really understood all that about myself, I most surely would have experienced some buyer’s remorse. And no, looking online just isn’t the same – you have to go experience houses in person to really get a feel for them.

So we go to this open house in September at this house that just went on the market. It was as perfect as I could have imagined, and my husband loved it, too. We walked out with mental notes of all the things we loved about it, and in the driveway we agreed that it was our house, but no matter, because it would surely be sold by January.

I had a “favorites” list on Realtor.com and every day I refreshed it with nervous energy, waiting to scroll down to this house and see the little red and white “pending” box in the upper left corner. It never came…the price went down….and down…still nothing. In fact, no houses really moved much at all from October to January. So long story short, January came, we had saved to our comfort level, got pre-approved and got our house.

February 26th was closing day. It was a Friday. Closing took 15 minutes. I thought I would cry like Miss America but I didn’t – I was more stunned/shocked than anything. Walking into the house for the first time without an inspector or realtor or other relative stranger with us was an amazing feeling!!

IMG_2524_Snow House.jpg

So I’m back – I think – assuming I don’t get lazy again. This place was pretty turnkey but I’d still like to document the changes we’ve made or plan to make! I feel like we’ve done so much already. It sure has kept us busy for a house that doesn’t need any work, and I like it that way!

writing desk redo

One day my employer told us that the furniture in this one office was up for grabs, and because I believe in hoarding furniture whenever possible I ran upstairs to take a look. It’s a law firm that has been around awhile, so there is a lot of old furniture sitting around, including this old writing desk, which I grabbed because it suited my plans for a new but cheap home bar area. I’ve been collecting pictures on Pinterest of bar carts and wine racks and figured I could use it in those plans. It’s not 100% ideal, but it was free, so good enough!

The table had a green leather top that appeared to be ruined – I considered stripping the leather off and replacing it, but then when I looked up the cost leather samples, cutting tools, etc., it seemed like a lot of work and money for a free table.  Then I looked into some examples where people used milk paint on the entire piece of furniture – I guess the milk paint sticks pretty well to leather, according to the internet people who may or may not be reliable, but I wasn’t sure and I am not ready to try using milk paint just yet.  After a little more research I found this video online of a redo of an ottoman with Fiebings Leather Products.  I gotta tell ya, they may want to consider editing that bad boy. It’s ten solid minutes of wet and wild leather refinishing fun. However, despite the fact that I know how to fast forward I did watch the whole damn thing and proceeded to purchase their products on Amazon.  You won this round, Fiebings.

IMG_5265

The drawer in the table was cracked and a little gross looking.  Ideally at some point we will be putting some bar accessories in this (wine stoppers, swizzle sticks, a weird looking miniature cocktail whisk that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it but then needed it desperately so now I have it and am thrilled, etc.), so I wanted to somehow get that functioning and a little bit cleaner.

IMG_5695I sanded the desk a little and filled in some of the larger divots on the top, drawer front, and legs.  Then I used those Fiebings products to do my best to clean up that nasty leather top.  The first step was to apply some coats of “leather deglazer” as the video suggests.  I will have you know that it would behoove you to click directly on the link I have provided above, instead of doing what I did, which was to forget exactly what the stuff was called after watching that awesome Fiebings video, and Googling “leather stripper”.  The results I got were interesting, but they sure weren’t gonna get me anywhere near fixing that writing desk.

I also got Fiebings Leather Dye in Black and the Acrylic Resolene Dye Top Finish.  After deglazing the top, adding a few coats of the leather dye with a paintbrush, a day’s dry time and several coats of the resolene, the top looked a million times better! It’s not perfect but that’s okay – way better than I anticipated it would look.

IMG_7490

I also found these Mission Style Satin Nickel Ring Pulls on ATG Stores.com for only $4.73 each, with free shipping. I had not heard of ATG Stores but I was impressed – apparently Lowe’s owns it and there is free shipping and the prices are great and the selection is huge. Good deal.

IMG_7492

 

IMG_7494

We had some leftover paint that we used to paint our Ikea patio furniture a few years ago (you can see that in the background) – it is a dark grey color.  Before I did that I liquid nailed a sheet of wood to the bottom of the drawer and clamped it together to dry.  So far, that appears to keeping the split drawer bottom together and it’s much more stable – we shall see. Then I used a layer of Minwax Special Walnut stain on the inside of the drawer.  I was then going to do a coat of Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Weathered Gray on top, but it is pretty opaque, so I mixed it with the Special Walnut and did a second coat.  I finished it off with a coat of Wipe-On Poly.  It is now smooth and shiny and pretty and something that isn’t gross to touch.

So that’s where we’re at – we have a few more things to do to fully execute the home mini bar area…come back later for that!

oh, hey there, fun times….

photo-5

Where have I been??? Lots of places – mostly work. LOTS of work. Lots of snow, lots of wedding plans, and so on.  My husband and I got married in April. I am sure when I have the energy I will post 100 pics going on and on about everything we did in Napa🙂

Above you will find the cutest creature on the planet, enjoying a moment out on the balcony with the greenery in the background…yeah I am super excited for the leaves to be back on the trees. Oh, how I have missed it!

Back to the wedding – my husband and I eloped (the knot.com psycho bitches would chime in right about her to school me on the fact that elope, in fact, is defined as running off IN SECRET to marry your spouse against a family’s wishes….) in Napa, California on April 17, 2014, and stayed there a few more days for our honeymoon.  If we did a full wedding our plan was going to be to get married on November 1, 2014, which would’ve been great because it’s a Saturday and it’s our fifth anniversary, but we opted for the eloping route and couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Cincinnati after such a long winter.

I’ve noticed that life really is a bitch in the winter.  I mean, i LOVE the snow, I really do, and couldn’t live without it, but man!  Spring time is party after party – Cinci de Mayo, the Flying Pig marathon in Cinci, Party in the Park, Derby Day, great weather for finally getting outside….then summer comes.  You lay poolside day after day, go to more nonstop events, not to mention camping, canoeing, catching up on books that you can’t find time to read anywhere but near the pool…then comes fall…wearing scarves and blazers seems so novel and fun….Halloween…Thanksgiving…Christmas….New Year’s Eve….parties!! decorating!! eating delicious food and drinking delicious drinks!! Happy fun time abound!! WOOOOOO!!!!! Happiness everywhere!!!

Then, it happens. Literally, you wake up on January 1 with the worst hangover of your life, crying and clutching the toilet and screaming at your significant other, “WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!?!” and that marks the beginning of four solid months of sitting on the couch, sleeping 12 hours a night, becoming deficient on Vitamin D, barely seeing a soul, and just generally feeling like reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Go are the best thing you’ve got in your life.  (That all isn’t what happened to me, I am just using it as a for instance……).  This is called January 1st through April 30th, and it’s brutal. Even the happiest person feels like a trapped, anxious little creature by the end of April – at least in these parts…I have no idea what the assholes in Florida and Hawaii are doing during this time….

So yeah, that’s all over and I am pretty pumped about it! HAPPY MAY! HAPPY SPRING! HAPPY SUMMER! buy a bathing suit and a fresh bottle of sunscreen!  load up on moisture-wicking fabrics from Lululemon, and book every weekend for fun times!

goodbye, 2013….

Hello!  I can’t believe that it will be 2014 tomorrow.  This year flew by but when I look back at one year ago, it feels like 3 years ago.  Every year at this time people spend time reflecting on their past year and contemplating the future and so, of course, that’s what I am doing. In short, this year was wonderful and everything I hoped for. I had a really hard time for a long time, and 2012 was downright horrible.  I lost pets, had a car wreck, had to cram a full time law school schedule into a part time one, among so many other things. The highlight of 2012 was getting my dog Ella, but other than that, it was a tough year. This day a year ago I thought, “good riddance, 2012…you sucked…” and also felt an enormous amount of uncertainty and fear before the bar exam.

The earliest post I had in 2013 was here. One day in January after lunch with my boyfriend I sat in his car right outside my office…crying and telling him how enormously fearful I was.  I told him if I don’t pass the bar exam, I could miss opportunities for jobs…I could have to retake it and spend many months more studying, sinking deeper into the exhaustion and edginess I felt, and not moving on with my life….I told him that I just felt this enormous burden because it was all up to me to make this year either an awesome one or another really bad one. I basically had about five very exhausting years and I just wanted it to be over.

I still stop and pinch myself every day now that normalcy has returned. I passed the bar exam…got a job, which has been going great…lost 17 of the 25 pounds I gained in law school…took a vacation, did tons of fun things with friends, got to enjoy my holidays for the first time in years, and got engaged to my boyfriend.  This year was very, very good to me!

I AM very sad the holidays are coming to an end.  Basically from October until now I was fully immersed in them and had a great time.  I started taking my Christmas decor down last night.  To get over that post-holiday sadness, I am thinking about what I’d like to do this winter.  I am really hoping for a VERY snowy winter. I’d like to go snowboarding again…I haven’t gone since January, 2008.  I am also looking forward to the Winter Olympics.  I have this inexplicable obsession with both the summer and winter olympics.  For two glorious weeks I let all my free time outside of work be consumed by televised sporting events.  Whether it’s skiing, iceskating, curling, whatever, I am glued to the TV.  In 2012 after my dog died, I had two weeks of nightly class, but then when it finally ended, I picked up my new puppy Ella…and the next day the Summer Olympics began.  In 2012, after all I had been going through, getting my new dog and playing with her every night while watching the olympics was the first time in many months I felt happy and at ease.

Other than hoping for lots of snow and watching the olympics I really don’t have much planned for this winter.  It might be good to slow down for awhile.

Anyway, I hope you have a great 2014.  Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Christmas decor pt. 3 ~ Stockings

 

 

 

I needed somewhere to put our stockings that looked good and could support the weight, since the stocking hooks on the shelf would not hold up when the stockings had anything in them.

I saw a commercial for 3M Command hooks, which made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of that myself a long time ago – I use those things all the time! So, I headed to Target and got three of them for about $4.50 each.  Done!

They no longer sell the monogram stockings I got at Target for my boyfriend and me, but I wanted a stocking for our doggie, Ella.

Luckily last week Pottery Barn was having a free shipping/free monogramming sale on some stockings, so I got her this Channel Quilted Velvet Stocking.

IMG_3441

IMG_3434

Christmas decor, pt. 2 – Living Room decor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these pics are from before I moves the stockings to a new place.

I have a bunch of my grandmother’s old Christmas cards from as long ago as the late 1930’s, so I put a couple of those in frames on the shelf.  I had real cedar garland last year, which I loved, but I don’t think “real” greenery is my thing.  I think you’re supposed to keep that stuff watered (somehow) so mine got SUPER dried out very quick, and for fear of it being a fire hazard I took it down before Christmas even arrived.  It made a huge mess and was a pain to get in garbage bags.  I left a trail of browned greenery all the way down the hall and in the elevator!

SO this year I just bought cheap garland at michael’s – $6 for 18 feet…bought two strands and doubled them up with a 100-light strand over the sliding door, and took one 18 foot strand and folded it in half and wound it with lights for the 6 ft. shelf. Much easier, cheap, and I can reuse them.  It doesn’t look quote as pretty as the cedar garland looked when I first hung it, but it’ll do.

I also made some name tags.  I found the “Let There Be Peace on Earth” free downloadable name tags here, and then made the National Lampoon Christmas vacation ones myself.  That is my favorite movie, so I wanted some funny ones, too🙂

IMG_7045 IMG_7041 IMG_7028 IMG_7027 IMG_0519

IMG_3440 IMG_3415 IMG_3413 IMG_0521 IMG_0525

Christmas decor, pt. 1 ~ “NOEL” banner

Hello everyone! I hope your holiday season has been carrying on merrily.  We have these target stocking hooks that we put on our shelf/mantle every year, but unfortunately, they don’t really seem to hold any weight.  They work fine for empty stockings, but if you try to put anything in the stockings, they flip right off the shelf.  No good.  Anyway, I came up with another spot to hang the stockings, but I figured the hooks would work perfectly for hanging a banner on the shelf.

I enjoyed making my Thanksgiving banner, and with all the crafty materials I had laying around, including a lot of leftover twine from the last banner, I figured I’d try my hand at a christmas banner.  I might try something more involved in the coming Christmases, but for this year I thought I’d start with something short and simple – “NOEL”.  We also got a printer recently, so instead of stenciling letters, I took a much easier route…I made the banner on Adobe Illustrator and printed them on card stock.

(Sidenote:  Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can be prohibitively expensive, at several hundred dollars a piece, but once you learn how to use them they are seemingly invaluable.  Luckily now you can get these programs and a bunch of others for a monthly subscription rate rather than paying the full amour for creative suite which is like, a couple thousand bucks….totally worth it in my opinion!).

IMG_7046

I didn’t want the outline to show through so I did a mirror image of the text.  I chose Gill Sans Ultra Bold as my font – I was trying to keep it simple with some thick, block letter text.

IMG_7047

My cutting mat is nowhere to be found so I used a stack of newspaper.  I cut out the letters with an X-acto knife.  Scissors would work, too, but the X-acto knife is MUCH easier.  BAM – there you have it…NOEL!🙂

IMG_7048

Then, yes, I cannot seem to get away from glitter – I decided to try my hand at glitter once again.  I sprayed each letter with spray adhesive, let the adhesive get tacky for exactly 2 minutes, and then i covered the letter with glitter.  I tapped the bottom of the tray all over the place until the letter was evenly coated with glitter.  DO NOT touch it! It will totally make it smudged and horrible looking.  I learned this the hard way.

IMG_7051

After they dried, I flipped the letters over on some newspaper and lined them evenly with the twine.

IMG_7054

Then, I took a glue gun and put glue around the entirely of the twine to hold it on…

IMG_7056

IMG_3417There you have it!! I think the letters could use some dimension, and maybe next year I will do a different word/words, different font, or add some extra layers or other trim, but for now, this is a good first try!🙂