Monday, 31 December 2012

Story of My Life in 2012: the highlight/lowlight reel

Ahh, the very last day of 2012.  What to say about this year? So many things. The archives of my blog say it best, I suppose, which is why I compiled a few highlight/lowlight posts from each month of the past year. It was really interesting to start in January and make my way right up 'til now. So much happened, and in the context of this blog, so much changed! It actually makes me gag a little to see how I used to edit my photos, though I suspect that, one year from today, I will say that very same thing about the way I do them now.  Such is life... always learning, always changing.

If you're a new reader, today's post might be a fun way to catch up on some of the highlights of the last year, or if you've been around a while, maybe you'll skim for posts you could have missed. So without further ado, here is my 2012 at a glance... :)


"Ask Matthew" questions answered part 1 and part 2.

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Gracie and Cooper's love story (hint: it's not really a love story. It turns out they're brother and sister, and I didn't know it until they were four years old!).

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Shared our wedding pictures: Getting Ready // Ceremony // Reception // Bride & Groom shots

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Something pretty major happened in my life... 

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Spring at the ranch... and a heavy heart for Edd.

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Losing Edd.

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My thoughts about the soul and watching someone I love pass away.

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Had a crazy stomach virus... and a reality check.

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A post in collaboration with Radiant Cosmetics (you'll be hearing more about them from me in the coming month!)

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A fun trip to Fredericksburg! Amoroso Cottage // Day 1 // Day 2

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Met my little brother for the first time.

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Went to Harry Potter World!! Part 1 // Part 2

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The "if you really knew me" post...

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Visited Lake Shasta! Part 1/ Part 2

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Kitchen nook before and after!

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The "my blog gave me ADD" post.

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How far would you go to please your man?

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My husband, the (ex) addict.

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My babies turned 7.

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Super fun trip to Virginia, including my first trip to an apple orchard!

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Threw my best friend a black and white themed bridal shower.

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The babies and marriage post.

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Matthew had an emergency appendectomy and said some really funny things while high on narcotics.

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My best friend got married.

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I started a blog for my photography business.

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I turned 26.

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Christmas home tour.

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Christmas 2012.

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If you made it this far, thanks so much for taking a little trip down memory lane with me.  New Year's is such a wonderful time to reflect on the past and look towards the future. I am such a sucker for a brand new year... gives me a great sense of hope and excitement for what's to come. Have fun and be safe tonight!

Etsy Calendar Roundup

It's that time of year! Time to buy a new calendar. My personal favorite is the Snow and Graham Wall Calendar. I buy it every year. If you don't already have a favorite calendar may I suggest you take a look at the ones on etsy. There are a ton of great options! 

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

I hope you have a fun night!

Happy New Years Eve! 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Kerb appeal - front yard fence and landscaping. HELP!

I would love a simple, formal front yard with evergreen plants and shrubs.

Am not a fan of anything high maintenance, which means no flowers. Although hedges require regular trimming, from what I have been reading (Paul Bangay, thanks to KL and Heidi for the recommendation!!!) depending on the species they usually require trimming anywhere between two to six times a year. We can deal with that :)

Also, even though the path to the front doors has not yet been done or even decided on, we will match it to the width of the front doors, which leaves 1.2m between the path and the driveway for us to work with.

Please ignore the fact that in my drawings the path does not line up with the front doors. I clearly messed up, but I can assure you this was not my intention and it will not happen in real life :)

This is what I am thinking of for a start. Would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and advice, as always.

"When planning a hedge, the most important thing to consider is scale. Many people get it wrong. Some make the hedge too large and dominant for the site they are working with, dwarfing all other planting and overwhelming the other elements of the garden..."

As a starting point, I am thinking of a 30cm x 30cm hedge on the inside, and 60cm x 60cm hedge on the outside. Do you think the balance of proportion and scale work with the house? Does it work with the architectural style of the house? Would smaller shrubs instead of the lower (inner) hedge look better?

Here is a pic of our front yard as it is:

The fence footings have already been done, but we are still unsure of what sort of fence to go with. We originally thought a brick pillar fence, but I am now thinking it might look to heavy and full on with our brick house. What do you think? I am even considering a low line rendered fence with a hedge behind it. See, I am obsessed with hedges. But then I think about the practicality of trimming the hedge against a fence .... Eeeek!

Quotes are from Paul Bangay's Guide to Plants 2011.


5 4 3 2 2013

Lets keep those little fingers safe on the last day of 2012.  If you have wee ones like me put your sparklers in a glass bottle or vase before lighting.  They can watch the pretty sparkles without touching.

These star shaped sparkler holders from The Pretty Blog are lovely for big and small.

Have a lovely evening, stay safe, and may 2013 be peaceful and prosperous for us all.

Operation Pantry Remodel: Phase 2

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays! It was my first year ever with just the two (three) of us. I missed my family but it was nice to be our own family too. 

Here's our one and only holiday photo (in case you missed it on instagram or facebook):

Susie was a good girl and dressed up for the occasion.

Now that the holidays are over, it's that time again...

Yep, we've jumped right back in to our pantry remodel!

Let's go back to where we left off last time:

I came up with a plan, purchased a few boxes and glass jars, and was ready for the next step.

During this month-long hiatus, I was still stuck on what to do with the very top shelf. Should I add more boxes/baskets? Keep everything out in the open? Nothing was really working for me.

And then.... last week... out of nowhere, it hit me.

Ditch the top shelf altogether and get a medicine cabinet. This made perfect sense for so many reasons:

1) I could utilize the otherwise wasted vertical space up to the ceiling
2) Concealed storage without having to pull down an entire basket to grab one thing
3) Items inside would be lined up in a single row, easy to find and sort
4) The shelf below this will have tall jars which I can now easily lift out without a shelf above in the way (the cabinet is only 7" deep)
5) The bottom nook makes a perfect spice rack, which I hadn't yet figured out a solution for.

This cabinet from Lowe's (Estate by RSI) just happened to be the exact width of my pantry and the most inexpensive model I could find. Plus it was white so I wouldn't have to repaint. It was meant to be.

With my dilemma solved, I had new motivation and excitement to get the ball rolling.

I went to Lowe's to find my shelves, and found this 24"x72" ready to paint board for $31. It was perfect because it was the exact width of my pantry, and when cut into 4 pieces, it was also the exact depth I needed (18"):

Here's a closer look:

4 shelves for $32, not bad.

I'm only using 3 shelves, so it's good to have an extra just in case I need it later on. Or for other projects.

I also picked up some 1x2" primed MDF pieces (you can see them on the left in the photo above). These will be my shelf supports—more on that in the next post.

Lowe's had my cabinet in stock so I picked that up also:

I'll be swapping out the stock knobs for cute ones from Hobby Lobby.

After removing the useless bifold door, it was time to clean out the pantry:

Then it was shelf demo time.

I was left with some nasty anchor holes...

The whole thing was basically just a mess from lazy construction practices... so I took some time (but not too much) to patch and sand everything down.

Then, it was time for paint!

I decided to use the leftover paint from our sunroom ceiling—Valspar's Tropical Mist.

Here's a mid painting shot, via instagram:

Once the walls were dry, I added a fresh coat of white to the baseboards:

And finally, Brad installed a couple recessed lights this morning:

They're a little off center because there's some piping in the attic in the way. But the bulb direction is adjustable and you can't see them unless you're on the ground, so no big deal.

We put them on the same circuit as the rest of the kitchen lighting, and they are dimmable as well.

Here's the pantry as it stands now:

It looks *way* lighter in these photos than it does in real life... I hate this lens. Anyone want a Canon 10-22? Bleh.

Here we go... I just ran into the kitchen and took this from my iphone. It's grainy, but realistic:

See... it's very blue in there. A little jarring but it will come together once everything is installed and in place.

Before I jump into phase 3 (the not so fun part of shelf installation), I'll share what I've been scheming for the fun part: fabric.

Luckily, Brad agreed to let me leave the bifold off and hang a curtain. Since then, I've been keeping an eye out at every fabric/home improvement store I've stepped into, hoping to fall in love with something.

Here's my vision: mostly aqua and (gasp, a new color!) yellow. Something floral or organic or graphic (but not too bold). Seems like there would be tons out there, right? Nope. Or maybe I'm just too picky.

I spent entirely way too much time searching the world for "the one", and never really found it. There were countless close calls, so eventually I had to settle for the best option.

Here were the final contenders (all via Etsy):

Which one is your favorite?

Can you guess which I finally settled on?





I *almost* pulled the trigger on the bottom left, but decided the colors weren't exactly right.

So McKenzie Bohemia in Aqua by Dena Designs it is.

I purchased it here and it came to $22.22 shipped for 2.5 yards. I'll use stitch witchery to make it into a curtain, and of course document that whole process later.

Hopefully it will be yellow enough in person—but if it isn't, I have other plans to add a splash of yellow. And I'm pretty excited about that project.

Cross your fingers for me that all goes well and we have shelves and a cabinet installed next week!