Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Official!

The papers are signed, the payments made, and we picked up our keys today! This is what homeowners look like:

As you can see, we didn't waste any time getting started. Here's what we accomplished tonight:

  • Taped off 75% of relevant walls in preparation for Raf's popcorn peeling session this weekend.
  • Lit candles in the smelly bathroom.
  • Pulled baseboards in the bedrooms and hallway, preparation for pulling the carpets.
  • Broke in the kitchen by consuming our first frosty beers, quite a feat considering there's no fridge (Raf packed an ice chest).
  • Pulled most randomness from the walls--dozens of picture hangers, small shelves, lighting fixtures, and the lovely wall o' mirrors that you see me pictured in above.
  • Programmed the number for the neighborhood Round Table in both of our phones, while picking up our first 10pm post-reno pizza.

I'm sure you'll be seeing these fun little lists regularly--at least I hope the work gets done consistently!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Want It

"It" being this entire ensemble, of course. Top to bottom. All of it. Especially those shoes. Can someone please find me those shoes?!?!
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Polish Invitations

I'm excited to say that we finally got our Polish invitations out! We only needed a handful, but they had to go out much sooner than the rest, so that any of Raf's family that may want to join us from Poland has plenty of time to make travel arrangements. Unfortunately, neither Raf nor I write in Polish! Thankfully, his cousin, Marta, got married not too long ago and still had her Polish version on file. We took that, changed the pertinent info, and called it good! Well almost...
You know me. Even with only one evening to complete these puppies, I just couldn't let them go out without some flare of additional goodness! I couldn't find any paper in my stash to get excited about, so I went to my fabric shelf and immediately grabbed a fat quarter that I purchased because it made me think of our wedding. I had remembered perusing random posts with fabric embellished invitations, but never imagined it to be a project I'd be interested in tackling...until last night that is! Considering I had so few to complete, I figured--what the heck! So I did a quick search for fabric invite instructions and immediately found this great post on the awesome Merriment Design blog.
Mine aren't nearly as detailed, but I was working with what I had available in my craft space at 9pm and I'm very happy with the way they turned out--especially considering it was a last minute idea that I was able to complete in a couple hours. It was also my first attempt at sewing on paper. It's something I've been wanting to try for ages, but was just too intimidated. I feel so silly now! That was the easiest thing I've ever done with a sewing machine!! It's SO much easier than sewing on fabric! And super fun too!
Now I, of course, have visions of sewn English invites flying around in my head! It can't look just like this because I've gone and blown the surprise, but I had way too much fun with the sewing machine to not consider it! Plus, it gives me a good excuse to head for my favorite fabric shop. :)
There's also tons of other inspiration on the Merriment blog, much of which follows the same fabric/sewn theme for all their wedding paper. I'm especially loving the sewn return address labels. Definitely think I'll have to consider borrowing this idea.

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Renewed Table Decor Excitement

When it comes to wedding planning, it's always the smallest of details that absorb the most energy and attention. At least that's my style. I had started to become a little concerned about the Patron bottle plan due to the small neck size. Everyone, of course, has warned me about this, but I had faith that we'd make it work. I've been testing flowers from the grocery lately, though, and had begun to get nervous.

That is, until I found these beauties! One little handful of these and my faith was renewed. (Anyone know what they are??) They work well because the stem is super skinny, hardy, and branch like--then they flare into these sweet little wildflower-like bundles. Love em! Just hoping we can find something with similar characteristics in late July!

As I mentioned in this recent post, I've also been playing around with the idea of upcycling old coffee roaster sacks into table overlays. Nena connected with our favorite coffee house, Nautical Bean, in San Luis. They've been super cool, and started requesting sacks from their roaster. Nena brought 5 with her when she stopped to visit this week. Most wouldn't work well--big bright stripes running through the middle, or the print on the outside shows through the inside, or the color/grain wasn't that great.

But there was one. One beauty. It's PERFECT! I love it. She she took that one back with her to see if she can talk to the roaster about pulling them specifically. If any of you frequent a local coffee house, check and see if they're roaster handles these Coffein Compagnie beans! In the meantime, I'm going to play with the others that she left. I need to figure out how to wash them, then I'll experiment with cutting them open to see how big of a square I can get.

Then, at work today, an email goes out about old votives found in storage up for grabs...JACKPOT!! Unfortunately, I wasn't the first to call dibs, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to work things out to borrow them for the weekend. I'm so stoked! I had started thrifting very similar ones, but had only made it to about 6. There were close to 100 in the box I dug through today. Woo hoo!
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Our {Almost} House

I love that our {almost} house is barely noticeable, even when covered by big ole termite tent!

We signed all our paperwork yesterday, Raf will be handing over 5 years of our savings tomorrow, and the keys will be ours on Thursday!!!

Who wants to scrape ceilings on Saturday?!?!
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Sam Sam

Oh friends, we have so much catching up to do! I'm working on it, I promise.

Most importantly, I want to send a HUGE congratulatory shout out to my friend Val and her husband Amol, who just had a beautiful baby boy. Welcome Samuel Sameer! Now move back to the States, so I can babysit, would ya!?!
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Kelli's Baby Shower

I've been on some kind of crazy roll with crafting projects this week. For starters, for the first time EVER I finished a sewing project in one sitting! Did you hear that...ONE!! So exciting. I'd been planning to make the super quick + easy baby quilt from Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts for my pregnant friend Kelli for months now. Of course, planning on making it, and making it are two very different things.

As usual, I waited until Saturday evening to get started on the blanket, in order to gift it at her baby shower on Sunday. I still can't believe I finished it! I think it helps that Raf was in Yosemite for a friends Bachelor party, so I had no distractions. The quilt is listed as a 2-4 hour gift; it took me 6. Not that surprising. I'm an amateur who hasn't even cut fabric in months. I also took a break to pickup some take out, eat it, and watch a Tivo'd episode of The Office. So really, it was probably more like 4.5 hours of actual work time, including time spent doing internet searches on details like how to finish a blind stitch (which I never figured out, btw). Anyway, wanna see?

This is my cute (if I do say so myself) wrapping job, completed in my car while waiting for my pedicure to dry (such a great weekend!)

I LOVE the finished product!! I think it makes the perfect cushy floor blanket--for when babies are just hanging out in the middle of the room.

It's a super simple project. Just 2 very fun fabrics sewn together with some cotton quilt batting in the middle and some cute little faux ties throughout.

Kelli has no shortage of blankets after Sunday. She probably got a dozen! And 3 of them were handmade! Mine was definitely the easiest. Another was a fully pieced quilt. And then this cute little bundle from Kelli's husband's grandma. So sweet.

Garrett's aunt hosted the shower at their amazing home in Lafayette. I loved this place. I followed her around asking questions like--what color would you say your siding is? (I LOVE these shingles!) And, is that the same wall color in the hall as the living room? LOL! I'm such a dork. This was actually my first real shower of any kind--and it was a perfect intro. It was like I stepped into a Martha Stewart magazine. The spread was incredible, complete with healthy snacks, non-alcoholic (mommy friendly) drinks, real dishware and glasses, formal serving tools. LOVED IT!!!
Seriously, after this weekend, I decided that I'm going to be the best retired person ever one day. Or maybe one of those Ladies Who Lunch. I love this stuff! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dad's New Kitchen

We went to Dad's last weekend to celebrate his 70th birthday and got to enjoy the first glimpse of his newly remodeled kitchen. It looks totally different (though Jordan walked right through it and didn't notice a thing!)

The yellow of the dining room turned out stronger than we expected, but otherwise, I'm digging the color combo. The floors look awesome, especially when you hear the story of him having to secure the boards manually because there was no appropriate nail gun in the state.

Raf helped him get all the new light fixtures up. Still a bit of finishing work to be done on the dishwasher.

Loving the big ole Ikea farmhouse sink! (Though getting it to function properly with all his old plumbing was a challenge.)

And check out these cabinets! They are absolutely beautiful in person. His neighbor, Sam, is a cabinet maker, so these are all handmade for this kitchen to Dad's specifications. Pretty sweet.

He still has a few finishing touches--the floor in the hall and out through the mud room, replacing the windows in the dining room, and he put in a new fridge this week, but all in all, it's pretty darn close! Then it's off to work on all our wedding projects! Or maybe his new dining room table. Oh, who are we kidding--he has to come lay our new floors! Ha! No rest for the skilled and retired in this family! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two Good Things

One. I got the call today that my wedding gown came in. YAY!

Two. Free music from DMB! You can download the new single, Funny the Way It Is, from the upcoming album, Big Whiskey, here. (Thanks for the heads up, Danny P, I love it already!)

Image from Vogue 1952, via Conde Nast.

House Inspiration

The house buying process continues to try our patience. We were supposed to remove contingencies by today, but the bank is dragging. Which is annoying because even our loan manager doesn't know why. And now we're told that we may not be able to ask for credits because it would cause further issues with the bank approval. frustrating! So anyway, I'm going to look for remodel inspiration to keep me positive.

First things first, the floors. We found some we like today, Bruce American Vintage Cherry 5" planks in Copper Kettle. But they want $9/sf for them. Ick. I found them in Georgia for $6/sf...lot of good that does me. I'll have to have the fam check pricing in Oregon so we can skip the tax!

How fun is this dutch door! We don't have a door that this would work on, but I wouldn't mind replacing the kitchen slider with one. It'd even give us much more wall space!

Yellow kitchen
Hutch goodness
Loving this framed wallpaper idea. Behind the headboard in a bedroom maybe?
Bathroom love, Love, LOVE! Portions of this could totally work in the house bathroom.
Then there's this clean and lovely bathroom from home remodel blog, Door Sixteen. I {heart} this bathroom. As in, I want to copy it inch by inch. Of course, that wouldn't really work cause we're not buying an old Victorian with 10' high ceilings, but whatever. At least the penny tiles on the floor. I can't live without those tiles.
Now we just need to close escrow!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vintage Vogue

Blog hopping tonight in search of wedding inspiration. Ended up at the Conde Nast store browsing eye candy. Randomly clicked on this image; it brought to mind casual vintage wedding wonderfulness. Ironically, it's the cover of the August 1, 1911 edition of Vogue. Love that.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baby Rooms

I'm switching it up on you today! No...don't freak out, I don't have news. However, my friend Lindsey does and I'm super excited! She's looking for ideas to decorate the nursery, and I just hit the jackpot. L--have you been to Apartment Therapy's ohdeedoh site? It's all about kids and they have a whole section of Home Tour goodness! I just did a quick scroll--the photo above was one of my immediate favorites.

Digging through baby and kid room photos online, the one thing I noticed is that most cool spaces forego making the room themey or babyish with paint, murals, etc, and instead just stick with a rather normal base--white or some other light, everyday wall color. Then they add fun elements by displaying cool kid stuff in inexpensive Ikea frames, on bookshelves, etc., which then makes it super quick and easy to change the look of the room as the little one grows. Another great idea to add pop is to use bright, fun, coordinating fabrics, which are also easy to change out.

Once you've chosen' the baby's name, I LOVE this idea. And I would think you could definitely thrift the letters (to fit in with Lindsey's second hand or free baby goods plan).

This room is obviously for an older child, but it was too good to skip:
Knowing that Ali Edwards just had a baby girl, and remembering all the cuteness I've seen of her son Simon's room, I figured her blog would also be a good place to check. Even more in this Flickr set.
Ikea is always a great place to search for design inspiration (click on the link to explore all rooms), especially since Ikea furniture is readily available second hand.

And if you're looking to paint something on the walls, I thought this was a fun idea (sorry, no clue on the source).

And finally (probably a good place to start), here are some good nursery design tips from HGTV. CONGRATS Lindsey & Matt!

Friday, April 3, 2009


The process of buying a house is madness. MADNESS, I say! We've been stumbling our way through new annoyances and deadlines daily, since having our offer on the house accepted last week. But, of course, my biggest stress is not mortgage, escrow or inspection related--it's decor related.

The house needs new floors. Bad. As in, the carpets need to be pulled up and replaced before we're willing to sleep there. Unfortunately, other than the kitchen and bathrooms, the carpet is everywhere. It'd be nice to have some time to live in the space for a while before having to make that huge of a design decision, but I don't think we'll have that luxury.

I love the look of hardwood throughout, but I'm sure we'll end up with carpet in the bedrooms at least. The warmth and quiet will win out over design in this instance. But even with carpet in the bedrooms, that's still a whole lot of square footage to cover with hardwoods. And the biggest frustration is knowing that we'll be remodeling the kitchen eventually, so how do we work around that now?

Anyway, I love an old school, thin plank, light-medium hardwood, but something about this house calls for something darker. I think it's because I envision all the common room walls staying white, so they'll need the balance of darker floors. But not too dark. That's too mod for me.

Long story short, I saved the photo above ages ago because dad wanted an all wood kitchen and I was trying to find examples where they pulled it off. I came across it again today and am loving the floors. Not too light, not too dark.

Wedding Weekend Accommodations

You've heard me mention VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) plenty, but have you used it yet? If not, here's your chance! We HIGHLY encourage any and all attending our wedding to rent one of the many vacation homes available on the beautiful Central Coast. There are places available whether you want to keep it low key with your +1, or if you want to gather the whole family in one place. (You may recall, VRBO is how we found Flying Caballos, our wedding venue!)

Here's the VRBO link to the Central Coast. The towns of San Luis Obispo, Cayucos, Morro Bay, Los Osos, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Arroyo Grande, Oceano and Shell Beach are all good local bets.

Cayucos is probably our favorite place to rent a house in the area. It's a quaint little beach town, chock full of ocean view rentals. It's 15-20 minutes north of San Luis Obispo and the beautiful drive is well worth the short distance. Here are a couple good vacation rental management sites to check out, Cayucos Vacation Rentals and Coastal Escapes Vacation Rentals.

If not a vacation rental home, how about a Bed & Breakfast? The Central Coast definitely has some cozy ones. Visit my Google search here, or go straight to our favorite, Petit Soleil.

Please note, we have not booked a block of rooms at a local hotel, and at this point we're not planning to. We made lots of calls, but we were able to find better deals online than they were offering at a block rate. If you'd like to stick with a hotel, I'd suggest you seach on Kayak.


It never ceases to amaze me how many decisions need to be made with planning a wedding--especially when you're going the DIY route! I've been thinking about tablescapes--linens, dinnerware, flowers, etc., for ages.

My primary source of inspiration was this wedding from Snippet & Ink. I love the simple wonderfulness of the burlap table runners. However, it appears that we're going the round table route, so I won't be able to borrow the runners Kate's mom is making for their wedding. Instead, I'm thinking of doing a square burlap overlay on full length white linens. I just have no clue what size to make the square. Guess it'll depend on how wide the burlap I find is.

I'm also loving all the jars filled with just a couple stems of variable flowers. Kristen had sent me a great link to this 100 Layer Cake post about jars, but I think I prefer the thin burlap trim tied around the rim of the jar, rather than the full fabric chunk (which is slightly appauling considering my love of fabric). I am digging the yogurt jar tealight holders from that post though.

This is also cute, with the jute wrapped around the bottom of the jar, but probably more work than I'm interested in.

And this DIY project from Maya*Made, a burlap coffee sack covered bulletin board, got me to wondering if I could upcycle coffee sacks rather than purchasing a new roll of burlap. I'm thinking--cut it open on the long side, cut it into a square, then lay it face down on the table so that the print doesn't show. Hmm. I'm not sure it'd be big enough, but I like anything that's *free*! I'm going to ask Nena to check with The Nautical Bean next time she's there to see what they do with their sacks.
If the sacks aren't big enough, maybe crossing runners?

Kate did a practice table setup with her mom a couple months ago, using our plates and a bunch of great bud vases that her mom has collected. Unfortunately, my computer is not cooperating with those photos, so I'll have to share another time.