Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Explosion!

I'm showing all my goodies - Christmas goodies that is :) - in one big, picture-filled post!

With the rec room under renovation since October, not too much decorating has been taking place. Since new dust seems to settle and collect on every surface, everyday, I just haven't seen the point in going all out with decorations.

I made a little exception for Christmas though of course and decked out the outside. And inside I decorated the living room, but that's as far as I went this year. In a normal year every room would usually get a little sumpin sumpin Christmasy :)

So this holiday house tour will begin outside. Welcome to our humble abode! :)

pay no mind to the old washer and dryer sitting in the garage prior to them selling on craigslist :)

My mom is in the process of selling her house and no longer had a need for her evergreen window swags (she made them herself and put them out every year for as long as I can remember!). So she passed them on to me and I used them at every window on the front of our house.

This one above the garage was fun to involved me on a ladder...and a very apprehensive husband holding said ladder ;)

 BRRRRR! It's cold outside! Definitely feels like winter now...Let's go inside and warm up, shall we? :)

Here's the view when you come in our front door - our living room!

I had fun with an old window that I found in my grandparent's barn. I spray painted the panes with chalkboard paint awhile ago, and for Christmas I added a Santa slogan and hung it above the end table.

On the banister I hung 3M removable hooks and a pre-lit garland:

At night the lights look great. I luuuuuuuuuuuuuve Christmas lights at night.... calming and cozy.

To the right of the stairs, in the corner next to the window, I leaned an antique pair of skiis that were my grandfathers. I heart them so much!

The pic above also shows part of the mantle. For that area, first I hung our stockings with more clear 3M removable hooks. They're my new favorite decorating secret...well, I guess it's not a secret now ;)

I love the middle stocking. I can't really explain why except for the feeling it gives me. It screams CHRISTMAS! and HOMEY! and OLD-FASHIONED! and a lot of other sentiments in all caps that make me feel good :)

I loosely stuffed some plastic grocery bags in first, then some "toys"  (which are actually ornaments and a gift box) peeping out of the top:

See that santa head? That's a Pez dispenser ornament..not functional but totally cute! My hubby has a thing for Pez and his mom gave it to him as an early Christmas gift this year...and I have a feeling there will be actual dispensers WITH pez in his stocking at their house when Santa comes :)

In the white stockings (From Michael's on sale last year I think?) I did the same plastic bag stuffing, then perched a miniature christmas tree inside each:

I love the green and white against the fireplace brick.

Above the mantle, on either side of the TV, I used the same gold urns I had out at Thanksgiving (I filled them with dried grasses) but for Christmas I filled them with bunches of evergreen and pinecone branches.

Mercury glass is BIG in decor right now, and these urns/vases are reminicient of mercury glass with their flecks and speckles and shine. But I actually prefer their gold color to the silver mercury because gold feels warmer to me and I like my holidays warm :)

Then I hung wooden candycanes on the lip of each urn...

...and leaned my giant-sized pinecones against them:

And then I filled the rest of the mantle under the TV with a strand of gold lights and pinecones that aren't on steroids :)

At the bottom right of the mantle is an old, wooden red stool which came from Mike's Nana. I placed a wooden monogram on the seat (it's from JoAnn's or Michael's). I had spray painted it gold awhile back and it plays nicely with the gold urns/vases that sit on the mantle above it.

Finally, to the right of the mantle is our Christmas tree. I wanted a real one this year but with the rec room reno taking longer than anticipated (we were going to put a real tree in that room), we just opted to bring down our go-to skinny artificial tree and put it in the living room like in year's past.

I guess if it were themed it'd be red and gold, but there's a good mix of other miscellaneous colors and ornaments.

I really like this candy in a wrapper ornament I got as a homemade gift from my cousin eons ago:

And this adorable "Mike and Amy" ornament commemorating the date of our engagment:

And I had to snap a photo of this super cool ornament we picked up in the Caymen Islands. It's a Santa hat-wearin turtle on a surfboard, haha :) It kinda keeps up our tradition we started on our honeymoon (to Antigua) of bringing home a Christmas ornament souvenier from a tropical destination. 

Here's one last picture that shows the whole right side of the living room decorated. It's a nice wide shot, which I don't think I've ever actually taken of this room before now.

Well, that concludes 2011's Christmas home tour! :) hope you enjoyed it and are also enjoying any and all decorations you've put out this year. I wish I could've done more in other rooms, but I keep reminding myself there's always next year!


Laundry, CHECK!...Tile, CHECK!

We are continuing to check off items from our rec room's renovation list! HOOOORAY!

Newly completed: the new washer/dryer are installed! Here's an in-progress photo of how that went down :)

Mike and our contractor (also named Mike!) did the heavy lifting, and since we stacked the units, there was definitely some lifting involved...and some gymnastics!...

That's Contractor Mike, showing off his best side and his ability to cram himself into tight spaces, haha.

See, since the washer and dryer fit snug in the built-in closet, the water lines, electric and dryer vent needed to be hooked up before doing the stacking. Luckily our hoses and lines were long enough to do that, but Contractor Mike ended up in this precarious position just to make sure the dryer hose wasn't squished and everything was still attached and properly in place.

Thanks Mike for being a good sport and making sure all was set up perfectly!

Here are the beauties all their exquisite, high-efficiency glory :)

Since we moved the laundry from the basement to this first floor closet, we could no longer use our old Maytag top-load washer and dryer because the room lacked the horizontal space. But since we raised the ceiling in this room, we gained the vertical space making stacked laundry a great option!

We bought this Whirlpool Duet set back in August from Lowes when they ran a buy-both-for-$898-deal. And what a deal that was! They're normally $699 EACH! We just Craigslisted our old Maytag washer and dryer for $250, which brought the actual cost of the new set down to just under $650 - an AMAZING bargain when you realize it could've cost us $1400! Essentially, it was like one of the units was free, like a buy-1-get-1 deal. I love BOGO's :)

Another checked-off item on our reno list: Tile in the entryway:

We went with a brick-pattern layout. I like the staggered look because I think it keeps your eye moving and it doesn't get stuck like it might with a traditional pattern:

We used this one-step product to seal the grout lines:

Mike did two coats to ensure it's protected from stains and such. I had no part of this project, since I (and the jellybean) steered clear of the fumes :)

Slooooowly but surely we are making headway in this room. As for the carpet on the rest of the floor, we're still waiting to hear back from the carpet guys on when they can do the installation. We're thinking it probably won't happen til after New Year's.

So whattcha think? Anyone else lay tile or carpet lately? Or convert their laundry to high-efficiency or stacked units? Do you agree with me when I say how much I actually ENJOY doing laundry now?! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Light Fixtures and Painted Trim & Doors

With the ceiling painted, the recessed can lights are now fully installed along with the center schoolhouse-style pendant light.

The cool thing is we already had the pendant light from a previous purchase. We were going to use it in the kitchen over the sink, but because of the overhead soffit that's there, it hung too low. So we bought a shorter light for that task and used this one for the rec room.

I love how it looks with the recessed lighting. We considered going with all recessed lights, but I've always thought that sometimes that can make a room seem a bit sterile and not so warm and cozy.

Since this room's purpose is to multitask (as office, future kid's play area, laundry room, and powder room), it was important to me to try and make this space functional, yet warm and inviting. With the ceiling raised a foot higher than normal, I think this drop-down light fits the bill perfectly.

The other weekend I got around to painting all the trim around the windows and doors:

The trim was pre-primed so all I had to do was fill the nail holes and a few gaps with caulk. Then I sanded and painted it semi-gloss white. 

Since the laundry closet and powder room doors weren't painted and came in an off-white/beige color, I gave them a paint job. I thought about putting 'before paint' and 'after paint' labels on this next photo but I think it's pretty obvious already :)

Mike took the doors off the hinges so I could paint flush with that edge of the doors. When 2 coats of that dried we re-hung them and I went to town with the rest of the paint.

 Here was my arsenal of paint supplies I used for this project:

1-semi-gloss paint (same I used for all the trim) and paint tray
2-handy, dandy paint can opener
3-Purdy 2" angled brush
4-small foam roller for cabinets and doors

I already had all of these items from prior projects (for example, the brush and roller were used to paint our kitchen cabinets last year) so this didn't cost me a dime to complete.

First I taped off around the handles - they'd already been installed and I didn't feel like taking them off and re-installing them again. I made sure they were protected from any paint by also wrapping and taping a paper towel around them . Don't wanna mess up they're pretty ORB finish, now do we?! :)

Then I used the brush to paint on a thin coat around the handles and along each of the square and rectangular insets:

Looks crazy, right? Haha, I thought so anyway...until I used the foam roller on the rest of the door's flat surfaces. Here's the finished product after the first coat was done and the second coat was drying:

MUCH better! :) And when the tape & paper towels around the handles came off it looked spectacular!

At least, in my book, clean paint lines qualify as spectaular...I probably have a low threshold for what I consider to be spectaular though. But that's ok...I'd even say that's spectacular! :)

I have lots more cool pics coming up in my next posts. Tile has been laid at the entryway and we've ordered the carpet for the rest of the room!

Next up on the to-do list: paint the walls, stain/poly the stairs at the new pass-through, and cut & install baseboard throughout.
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