Sunday, October 30, 2011

Catch Up

Well, as usual... I suck at posting once school starts!  It's been an interesting year so far.  I have some super sweet students, and some super challenging ones, too.  It's neat to see how much progress so many of them have already made. 

This is my attempt to catch up... you could also call it a camera dump.  Or just a picture dump, since quite a few of the pics are from my phone!  Apologies if the quality is lacking, but I just haven't gotten around to taking any nice photos.  

Over the summer, I moved our DVD cabinet up to the office so it could be with the 2 others that match it (excuse the Chrismtas pic...) and replaced it with this little chest.

It wasn't in the best shape,

but after some sanding, paint, & poly, it fits right in. 

 The yellow lamp was a little much on the yellow chest, so I gave it a coat of black spray paint.  I'm not sure I love the black lamp & white shade... so we'll see.  It will probably change.

Before I put the paintbrushes away, I also painted a mirror for the hallway bath (also known as Boston's room).  Mom & I found the mirror at a consignment store; it was originally black.  I tried spray painting it a blue shade, but it just wasn't the right color.

I picked up a sample tub of a color closer to the teal in the shower curtain, and it was much better.  

While on a painting roll, we also painted the interior of the front & side doors black.  They looked fine white,

but I really love the contrast of the black!  

I also made a fun gift for a friend's bridal shower using this awesome flickr collection of letter pics.

It was fun to make and I really liked the result, so I made one for us, too!  It became part of our new hallway gallery wall.

The last project I took on before the school year began was finally making some sort of window treatments for the office.  After lots of thought (like 2 years worth), I finally decided to make cornices/pelmets for both windows.  

I knew I wanted orange & white fabric and finally found some I liked at ufab (best fabric store ever).  After debating how to make the boxes themselves, I finally decided to use purple foam insulation board from Home Depot (I wanted something lighter than wood, but a little more sturdy than foam core, which I've seen quite a few bloggers use with great results).  I love how they turned out (although again, excuse the phone-quality pics).

Right now, we are working on a project that I thought we wouldn't tackle for awhile, but hubby surprised me one day by starting it!

I'm so excited; I always thought it would be the perfect place for a banquette/window seat!  Plus, it will give us a little extra storage, which is always nice.  Stephen added some trim and is working on painting it white.  Now it's my turn to sew the cushion... should be interesting!  It'll definitely be the hardest sewing project I've undertaken so far.  

The plan is to shift the table over (and move the light over as well), 

then add some sort of sideboard or buffet on the right wall for even more storage!  Yay.

So how's that for a crash update!?  It'll do for now.  My plan is to try to post a little more often, even if I have to make them short and sweet.  We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I Love Richmond

Simply put, I love Richmond.  I loved growing up here, and I love living here as an adult.  Sure, there are other places I've thought would be great to live (NYC, Boston, Southern Cali, Denver, Portland, and many more).  But... Richmond is home.  Even if I moved to one of the amazing previously mentioned locales for awhile, I'd be back.  Partly because my family is here (I can't live too far from them... it just doesn't work for me), but also because I love it! 

When Centsational Girl announced her "Favorite Things in My Town Party", I thought it would be a fun excuse to write about my beloved RVA (RIC if that's your preference).  Technically, we actually live outside of Richmond.  We lived in a house in the north side of the city after we got married and I L.O.V.E.D it.

I really wanted to stay within the city limits when we decided to buy, but after realizing our options were realllly limited (by our budget) and we found this great deal on our house... it just made sense to be in the county.  Luckily, we are just 10-12 minutes from downtown so it is not a huge sacrifice!

 Main Street Station

The very best thing about Richmond is its proximity to the beach and the mountains.  We can spend a day in Virginia Beach or go snowboarding at Wintergreen after just an hour & a half or so of driving.  It cannot be beat.  There are also two theme parks within an hour, and Washington D.C. and Baltimore are just about 2 hours away.  So many great day trips!

July 4th in D.C.

Richmond is truly rich in history, too.  There are a bazillion historical landmarks, not to mention an infinite amount of Civil War battlefields and landmarks (if that's your thing).

We have amazing museums (from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to the Poe Museum, to the Science Museum and 2 Children's Museums) and art galleries, too.  My favorite gallery is also my favorite place to buy gifts in Richmond, Quirk

I could do an entire post on art galleries in town, most of which participate in our First Fridays Art Walk.  Who doesn't love an excuse to spend Friday night downtown admiring local artists' work?

Another amazingly awesome thing about Richmond is the James River.

The river means so much to us... from rafting trips to kayaking; from lounging on river rocks to fishing along the banks; from running along the flood wall to hiking on the islands... you get the idea.  The James gives us gorgeous scenery and more recreation than any one person could ever fully appreciate.  We love to hike, bike, and go to concerts and special events on one of our islands.  We had fireworks by the river this year and they were phenomenal.

You are likely to be able to find some kind of festival almost every weekend.  Some of the best times I've had are at big events that attract Richmonders of all ages & backgrounds.  Whether it is at a music festival (like our Folk Festival) or a food/wine festival (we have lots of those) or an athletic event (our Monument Ave. 10K is one of the biggest races in the country)... there is just nothing like being in a huge crowd of Richmonders just loving and enjoying our city.

my friend Courtney & I running the Richmond Marathon

Richmond is an ideal place to live if you are a runner (or biker).  I have discovered some of my favorite spots in the city during a long run.  We have training teams for all the big races, and it's great to learn new routes through the city.  Local races like the Monument Ave. 10K and Richmond Marathon are so much fun because they bring SO many people together in our city.  

Clearly I could go on and on.  We have amazing shopping (Carytown is a fav. of many Richmonders... lots of fun local shops and eateries along Cary Street, as well as an awesome old theater, The Byrd).  You could spend an entire day just admiring the architecture of various buildings and houses... from our gothic old City Hall to the new Virginia Museum of Fine Arts addition to the gorgeous houses in Ginter Park and along Monument Avenue.

Another fun place to spend time is in Shockoe Bottom or Shockoe Slip, smack in the middle of downtown and close to the river.  You can walk along the old cobblestone streets (seen above in a photo from our engagement shoot).  There are phenomenal restaurants, the most amazing modern furniture store (LaDiff), and access to the Canal Walk.  You can also take a tour on a canal boat, which provides some history and great views as it glides down the canal and alongside the Holocaust Museum and all the old warehouses, which are now lofts.

So, in the interest of time I think I'll stop here.  Like I said though, I could obviously keep going.  There are so many great things about Richmond!

If you're ever here for an extended period of time, I would certainly recommend taking in a festival or two, walking along the river (maybe along the Canal Walk, Flood Wall, or on Belle Isle), checking out the VCU campus and Hollywood Cemetery, going to the VMFA or Science Museum or other museums, taking an art class at the Visual Arts Center, going to Maymont Park or Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, driving along Monument Avenue, shopping in Carytown, eating in Shockoe, and (if you're lucky enough to be here in December), taking a limo or driving yourself through part of our Tacky Light Tour.  The fun just never stops. :)

skyline pic from here, Quirk collage from here, river from here, 10K from here, footbridge here

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beach Bums

Well, my summer break is officially over as of tomorrow morning.  Can't wait to sit in a meeting from 8am-4pm! :)  I have quite a few things to blog about, including a painted piece of furniture, a new wall of frames, painted doors, and new window pelmets/valances in the office.  But... I'm not writing about those things tonight.  

We just spent the most relaxing week & a half in the Outer Banks and I'm still "gone to Carolina in my mind" (as the wonderful James Taylor would say).  

We crashed my parents' vacation for a few days at my cousin's amazing beach house, and my awesome older brother joined us there, too.  It was wonderful!  We then moved down the road a mile or so to spend a week with our good friends, Courtney & Eddie.   

It was amazing to spend 11 days at the beach (who doesn't love the beach?), especially with great company!  

I was very prepared to relax by the pool/on the beach and catch up on some reading.

I read all but one of those books, and enjoyed every one!  Tomorrow will be a bit of a rude awakening, but I'm sure I'll be back in the swing of things in no time.  Here's to hoping I can keep up with the blog as the school year begins!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tangly Dangly Earrings No More

For a long time, I had no interest in "dangly" earrings.  I'm not sure why (I think it drove my mom crazy), but I just didn't like the way they looked.  I would always wear the same silver ball posts.  I still wear those posts most days, actually.  

Times have changed, though, and now I am loving the look of fun dangly earrings.  As I've started to accumulate more pairs, I've just been sticking them haphazardly in my jewelry box.  No sense of organization, whatsoever.  Which drives me crazy.  When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew it was a perfect, easy solution to my problem!

There is an easy-to-follow tutorial here, which is exactly how I made mine.  My favorite tip from Amanda's tutorial is that by twisting two or three strands of picture wire together, you can also attach post earrings to the wire.  As you can see in my finished product below, I stuck in a pair of my fav. silver ball posts on the bottom row.

I plan to hang mine in our closet, along with a necklace holder whenever I get around to making one.  I recently pinned this one on my To Do board that is made from a towel bar and shower curtain hooks.  It is a likely candidate!  

When I hang the earring holder, Stephen said he has some molding that we can use behind the frame, since if we hang it flush against the wall, the earrings would be flattened and it would be tough to use.  I can't wait to fill it up with even more fun earrings! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sew Much Fun - Camera Straps

In December (yea, as in last YEAR), I decided that I wanted to make a cover for my camera strap.  

I saw them all over the "blogosphere" and figured they couldn't be too difficult to make.  I even gave my sister one for Christmas.  Actually, I gave her an IOU coupon for one since I didn't have any made in time for Christmas!  

Fast forward 6 months (ridiculous) to this summer, and I finally make the time to sew a few strap covers.  They were fun to sew, and didn't take too terribly long either.  

The ones without the ruffles took less than a half hour each, including the cutting, ironing, and sewing.  The ones with the ruffles took closer to an hour.  I roughly followed tutorials from here and here.

The one above was nice because the ruffles are actually ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  Time saver!  I also bought some wide grosgrain ribbon to try as an accent... whenever I get around to making more.  

I gave away a few of them, but still have a few to switch out on my own camera.  Fun!  Next up on the sewing table:  roman shades for the french doors, a window valance for a friend's classroom, and some sort of window treatments for the office.  Maybe a couple of new pillows, too.  Sew fun :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

'Our House' page

So... this blog was started with the intention of posting pictures about the work we have done and continue to do on our home.  However, I don't think I've even posted about half the rooms in the house!  Since I refuse to pressure myself to blog about each and every room right away, I figured I could at least post pictures of our house to buy myself some time.  

Instead of writing one realllyyyy long post, I made a new PAGE!  That's big stuff for me.  You'll notice at the top of the page (right under the huge teal header), there is a new tab called "Our House".  

It is one long page with before and after pictures of each room in our house.  Fun :)  There are a few links to past posts about some of the rooms, and if/when I post about rooms in the house, I'll add those links, too.

As I kind of mentioned above, I'm not going to let myself feel pressured to update all the time and make this a superblog, even though I would like to update constantly and keep it 'fresh'.  But, it's just not fun if you feel like you have to do it!  I also decided that it's okay for me to write about anything; it doesn't have to be house-related.  In fact, posting about teaching-related things seems to be much more popular! 

So, I might post about house stuff, or teaching stuff, or personal stuff... whatever is going on in our lives at the time.  After all, this is the perfect way to document our memories! 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fan of Sea Fans

A couple of months ago, during one of our fairly regular stops at Home Goods, Mom and I spotted something VERY exciting.  Sea fans!

Well, not that exact sea fan, but 3 different pairs of matching sea fans. !!  I've been looking for sea fans to frame for a couple of years now (I could have ordered some online, but never found the right ones for the right price), so you can imagine my excitement when they were just sitting on the shelf.  Mom bought two large white/beige-colored fans, and I got two smaller yellow ones for just $5.99 each!

We finally went to Ikea to get frames this past weekend.  We also picked up some fabric for the background of our frames while we were there.

As soon as we bought them, I knew right away that I wanted to hang them on either side of the window in our breakfast nook.  Our pendant light has a similar accent color in it, so I was hoping it would work perfectly.  After replacing the mats with fabric-wrapped poster board, I just stuck the sea fans in what looked like the middle of the frame, put it all back together, and voila!

So much better than the bare naked walls (as seen below, obviously in the winter). 

I love it.  Eventually we'll do something to the long wall on the right, too... maybe a white plate wall?  My (very) long-term plan is to try to do a banquette under the bay windows and move the table and light over, and have some type of sideboard/buffet along the wall on the right.  We'll see! 

sea fan picture from
Designed by Lena