Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter/1 Year Wedding Anniversary Celebration!

April 24th this year marked two reasons to celebrate.  One was Easter and the other was our 1 year wedding anniversary.  So the plan was to have Easter for the first half of the day and the second would be filled with anniversary fun. 

Some of my Easter Decorations
As you know from previous posts, my family (mom, sister, and grandmother) came for the weekend arriving on Friday evening ready for fun.  Well fun is what they got.  We spent the day Saturday enjoying each other's company with a nice breakfast (the Dutch Baby) and then getting our Texas Spirit on at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and then rounding out the day with a nice dinner at the lake at Cafe Bleu. 

A view of the "Lone Star" with a birthday hat at the museum

Then Sunday arrived and it was time for the Easter portion of the day.  We had a lovely breakfast al fresco in our soon to be beautiful back yard and then our dove into our Easter baskets. (yes my mother still makes us baskets and it is AWESOME!) 

Backyard Update:  I did at least get some plants potted in the two big pots shown below for the weekend.  Also, the two hibiscus trees in the back are our "love trees" as they are the trees and pots that were on our wedding altar.  They have been hibernating inside the house over the winter and have made it outside to thrive for the summer!  The two smaller silver pots below also have the orange lilies from our wedding.  They came back this year!  My plan to recycle the decor from our wedding is a success so far.

My attempt to make the hideous gravel filled pit look good for now, and Roxie sneaking in the pic.

I love our grown up Easter baskets that my mom makes for us.  They have some practical gifts hidden in them as well.  Devin got a new caulking gun!  Sweet!  I on the other hand behind him, got a sweet marshmallow shooting gun!  NICE! 

It just wouldn't be natural if we didn't get coloring books for the holiday.  My sister and I are the queens of coloring.  I had to bust out the big box of crayons for the occasion!

Granny was even into the coloring with us!  We just love it!  In the picture below you can also get a sneak peek of our finished painted house!  More on that to come in a future post.

The afternoon was then focused on our first wedding anniversary!  We exchanged gifts with the paper motif as is the tradition.  Below you can see one of the presents I made Devin (and me).  I made artwork to hang in our bedroom.  More on that in a future post.  You can also see in the picture below the orchid that my wonderful husband got me.  I have been wanting one, but have also been afraid to get one as my thumb is not exactly green.  My current goal with the orchid is to have it survive to our next anniversary! 

After our wonderful Easter/Anniversary dinner we enjoyed our cake from our wedding.  Ok, I have to say that we did not freeze the top of our wedding cake.  Our cake lady offered to make us fresh cake balls (her specialty) for our 1 year anniversary when we ordered our cake.  We liked the idea as it would be fresh delicious cake and not the traditional scary frozen cake.  Stacey at Austin Cake Ball is wonderful and she decorated our cake balls to match our wedding cake.  Below you can also see the table runner that we DIY-ed for our sweetheart table at our wedding reception and also the cake stand we used for our wedding cake, our cake knife and server, and cake topper.  (FYI- I am working on a wedding page so you can see all the DIY wedding fabulousness!)

I also opted to wear my DIY-ed headband with flower that I wore in our wedding.  It is so beautiful and I had so much fun wearing it, I might need to wear it more often!

It was such a wonderful anniversary with my husband and holiday with my close family! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's have a Dutch Baby!

Being as it is Good Friday today, and my family is headed our way for a fun filled family weekend (FFFW), I will share the recipe for the Dutch Baby we will be enjoying one of our 3 mornings together.  I tried out the recipe last weekend after we purchased our new handy dandy cast iron skillet!  It was a success and I can't wait to enjoy it with "the crew". 

It is super easy and you only need a few ingredients.
What you will need:

Cast Iron Skillet
Eggs, Milk

Nutmeg, Flour, Salt, Butter

Here is the official recipe I used. 

After a little mixin'...

And a little bakin'...

You get this beautiful delectable pancake!

Serve with a little powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon and Voila!  Deliciousness!

Enjoy your weekend everyone and maybe a little Dutch Baby also!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Impromptu Office Remodel

Nothing like a visit from your family to encourage you to get some things done around your house.  Well, our office (shall I say disaster area) was just that, something that needed to get done.  Devin works from home and it is important for him to have an functional work area, but let's just say he nor I made this room a huge priority since move in until about 10pm Saturday night. 

Last week we discovered these desk tops at IKEA in the As-is area.  (always our first stop at IKEA when we get there).  They are just what I was anticipating buying for the office for our new desks.  After buying the legs brand new we ended up paying $58.47 for all the new desk pieces (3 total) rather than $111.47 if we had purchased the table tops and legs new.  As with many As-is items there is nothing wrong with the item, but it was in a display, it was returned or it is discontinued.  One top had a slight ding in one corner but that is about it, even the pre-drilled holes in the bottom for the legs had not been used.  So BONUS for us as it was an intended purchase anyway.  These tops had been sitting in our garage in anticipation of their new home in our office.


IKEA Corner piece...ours all have black legs
So with the family coming to town this Friday, I decided to put the new desks in to "clean up" the office and make it more roomy for my Granny who will be staying in the office downstairs.  It is the only room on the ground floor and has a full size bathroom adjacent to it. 

Well as most of our projects go, it had a domino effect that happened quickly.  Devin and I were both sitting in the office at our computers discussing the new layout, when I said..."well, if we are going to move everything out, we might as well paint."  BlAMO, there it was!  The words that sparked the crazy whirlwind project to empty the room, paint, and re-assemble the room with all the paper and crap important stuff that resides in it.  Remember these famous last words were uttered Saturday night about 9 pm.  So Devin and I proceeded to empty most of the room and get it ready to prep for painting Sunday morning.  This makes me tired just reading it.  I am also still not a hundred percent well from my "Week of Death."

What it looked like after we had begun cleaning it out...I forgot to take a before pic before
There is nothing wrong with the image below, those are white marks on the wall where some paint came off when we removed a shelf the previous owners had there.

Notice the massive metal file cabinet...yuck!  But it was $10 at a garage sale in ABQ
We finished the mass exodus of 'stuff' about 2am Sunday and I was finally in bed ready to sleep at 3am. 

Big Ol' File Cabinet in middle of the room cause it is still filled at this point

So first thing Sunday, I begin priming the walls.  The plan was to paint all the walls white and have one section orange where the closet door is located.  So to be sure to cover the existing orange and gold, I primed with a can of Kilz that we already had (sweet).  We ended up only having to use one coat of white paint as a result.  Yay! 

Primer going up

More priming

Another view
But of course we had help!
Sophie taking a break from the work

Sophie's "paint brush" tail, she loves to help
Painting was finished about 4pm I think.  It took longer than anticipated because I was just not my usual self with the 'sickness' still hanging on.  Devin was also working on the wire mold project at the same time so I got his help after the priming and orange paint were up.  With his help we whipped out the final stretch of painting quickly and we had plenty of daylight remaining for the furniture installation process, which included screwing on the legs to the desk.  

New desk getting installed
I'm sure you are all wondering what the heck I am going to do with that Big Ol' Filing cabinet.  Well it is going to be garage sale-ed at our annual neighborhood garage sale the last weekend in April.  I'm sure it (and many other things) will find a happy home elsewhere.  Instead of that mega cabinet, I found an awesome 2 drawer lateral file cabinet at Tops, a local used office furniture warehouse (also my new favorite place)!  Get this...retail value approximately $500, we paid $95!  Yeah baby that's what I'm talking about.  It was just truly meant to be!

View of new 2 drawer lateral file

Devin finishing up the last top's leg installation

File cabinet still in...until I can unload into new cabinet

Still some daylight left...YAY!
At Tops, the used office furniture mecca, we also found Devin a new office chair!  He was in desperate need as his back would ache from sitting in the el cheapo IKEA office chair.  I wanted to find him a good quality commercial office chair.  We found this Human Scale Freedom Task chair (super sweet ergonomic chair) for the bargain price of $125.  This chair's list price new is $1110!  HOLY MOLY!   That is exactly what I said! 

Devin's new office chair, Freedom Task chair by Human Scale

Big Ol' File cabinet gone and it's contents mostly in the new file cabinet
Ok enough's enough.  Here is the finished result (for now).  I still need to hang curtains and pictures and models and organize a little more.  But it is definitely much better for my Granny to sleep in.  She might want to do a little work while she is in there...

Reminder of what it looked like at the beginning of this process (and super long blog post!)

Now I need a nap. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

We've Got MOLD!

Ok, not the bad kind of mold, but some awesome wire mold courtesy of my husband...I will explain.

UPDATE: The painters are at my house today to begin the prep work for our exterior paint job!  A crew came Saturday to do the powerwashing which made me giddy!  Now that the house is nice and dry, they can begin caulking and priming.  This is our first major purchase (or gift) for our house!  I am excited that we get to put our stamp on the exterior of our house since we certainly have been putting our stamp on the inside! 

So back to the point of this post, before they started to paint, we wanted to make a quick fix to our back porch lights.  The porch light was a "builder's special" fixture that needed to be replaced and to add a little twist, the previous owner's had tapped into the porch light to run a line for power to an additional sensored flood light.  So when I say run a line, I mean litterally just tacked up some electrical wire from one light fixture to the other.  It just didn't look very clean. 

Old porch light with wire running to sensor light

Old Sensor light

We opted to keep a light where the sensor light was because it provides good light to the yard if you are hanging out or playing in the yard in the evening, but decided to get a regular flood light type fixture without a sensor.  We like to be able to turn the light on and it stay on and when we aren't using it, it can be turned off.  And really, the sensor lights while perfectly functional are just not that pretty.  We decided on this ever so simple and cute flood light.  (kinda looks like eyes here)

New flood light

Devin decided to go with a wire mold to cover the wire from one fixture to the other and re-route the wire so that it made more sense.  He liked that the wire mold was flat rather than traditional conduit that is a round tube.  This would let the wire lay flat against the house and be less obtrusive.  Also, the painters would just paint the molding to match the siding color and the molding will virturally disapear.  (Hence why we had to get it done prior to the paint job). 

So Devin removed the existing light fixtures and installed the new wiremold!  He is awesome FYI!

Old light fixture and wire removed

Rather than run the wire mold under the beam like the previous owners did, Devin drilled a hole through the beam and added a junction box to run the electrical wire through from the back.  He was also able to move the light up a few inches to center it on the beam.  We still have a wire running vertically to the left of the j-box that is our cable line but hopefully that will look much better after it is painted to match the house. 

New junction box Devin installed
Devin cutting the wire mold

Devin working his magic

First half finished

And of course we would never get any projects finished without our trusty helpers!  Roxie made sure no strangers entered the back yard to see our handywork.  She is great at guarding the yard and running perimeter checks!

Wire mold completed.  Devin ran the mold into another box on the back of the beam for a clean look. 

Finished wire mold

Box on the back side of the beam

Once we Devin had the wire mold finished, I just had to see how the new porch light fixture was going to look.  So Devin very kindly did a quick mount of the porch light, not wired or anything, just to get the idea of how it will look, and make sure the wiremold met up with the light just right.

Dry run of the porch light installation

Close up of how the wire will run into the porch light to provide power to the flood light
A little taste of the finished lighting project
New porch light

We didn't do a dry run of the flood light installation, but I will post the final photos of the paint job with the new light fixtures installed soon!  I am just as excited as you are I'm sure! 
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