Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fantastic and Free #2

On to post #2 of my two week project (I just used the word "two/to" three times. Woot). Today I made a new vase, keeping up with the fall feel of yesterday's project. In the end, it was pretty simple, though it took a couple tries to get it right. I took a mason jar, some twine, and some spray adhesive. I combined them (mixing bowl not included) and voila!

Well, not really. I actually sprayed the mason jar with some of the adhesive (only a little bit, because too much and everything gets crazy sticky, though quick note: if you do get too much on the jar, nail polish remover takes it off SUPER easily), and then while watching HGTV's The Unsellables, I wrapped the twine many, many times around the jar. I threw a couple clippings of some of our trees from backyard into my brand new vase, and instantly our kitchen table had a pretty fall-esque centrepiece!

And, when I was outside grabbing some of the leaves, I realized that we have a gorgeous tree in our backyard with very pretty red berries. The birds seem to love it! I tried to include a clipping from it in the mix, but I couldn't get it quite right. Oh well, maybe another time. Do any of you know what kind of tree it is? I love it.

 Budget breakdown:

MASON JAR: $0 (I have a collection of them)
TWINE: $0 (Leftover from the wedding!)
SPRAY ADHESIVE: $0 (Got it ages ago for another project)


You are Not My House...

Today I cleaned the apartment. Doors, walls, cupboards. I was there by myself. And it was hard to say goodbye. 

I've never really seen the place empty before. Lana and Vickie checked it out when I was in Ontario over Christmas break, back in twenty-ten. And Lana moved our stuff in while Vickie and I were up north on MX2 in January of twenty-eleven.

I think one of the hardest things was the noise. The whole place echoed. I played loud music to drown it out.

No one had taken down Lana's string tree yet. So I had to. It was just hanging out in the spare bedroom, incomplete but loved, like so many of the projects that the three of us took on while we lived there. I guess in a way, it represented us. It was really the only thing that stayed the same, even after Derek and I took over the place and Vickie and Lana moved out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so excited about my new home. I can't wait to see what it has in store for me and Derek, and any future family members that come along.

But I'm going to miss this place - with late night conversations on the countertops, tears and laughter getting smeared together so closely that the seams disappeared.

There are so many memories packed in to the year and a half that I lived there. So much love, and heartache, and friendship, and growth.

It's hard to say goodbye.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Fantastic and Free (like a frisbee...?) #1

So, ever since I quit my job at Tim Hortons, Derek and I have been getting used to living on one income. Technically, we should have been doing that before - when I was working at Tim Hortons - but we weren't. My reasoning behind saying that we should have been living on one income came from a paper I wrote last year for Marriage and Family class on dual-income families. Though I won't include the whole paper, here is part of my conclusion: 

"It is easy to fall into a number of traps when choosing the dual-income lifestyle. The first is the ‘more-money-trap’. Essentially: falling under the impression that with two incomes, the money will come flowing into the family. With this, it isn't difficult to build a lifestyle that requires two incomes, leaving yourself without anything to fall back on if one spouse loses their job. Derek Penner says about this, 'Biblically, it’s not sinful to have a lot, but it is if the focus of your possessions is on yourself and if that’s all your using it for. The concept of living on one-income even in a dual-income family is Biblical in that you’re not living in excess.'"

Essentially, the conclusion I came to was that there is no problem in having both spouses working, but there can be a problem if you're living in excess and depending completely on having two incomes. I came across a few suggestions about how to balance the issue, including the idea that the secondary income be used for "unnecessary" things such as holidays, home improvement, more clothing, a boat, an emergency fund, etc. Whatever you want, really. So, now that Derek and I have only his income, it's become an exercise in not spending any money being more frugal. 

In continuing with the more frugal exercise, I thought it would be nice to bring in a fun twist (because we all know that when cash is tight, most things aren't fun). My plan: for the next two weeks, I am going to create one FREE project each day. That means working with what I have, or working with what I can find without spending a single cent! It'll be interesting doing this along with the October Dress Project - which you guys will find out about in three days (Oct. 1st!). 

Today's project: updating some of our decor for fall. I've been wanting to move out some of the summer-themed sea shells/bright colours for a week or two now, but since we were in the midst of moving (and I was in Alberta for a week), it just wasn't going to be happening until after the move. And now "after-the-move" is here, and it was time!

Voila! Brand new fall themed decor in our brand new living room. It actually took almost no time - except for the fact that I had to iron out the burlap. The burlap I already had lying around from some past project, and the candles with pebbles thing was a wedding present.

All it took was to cut the burlap to size (a simple cut-off-the-weird-leftovers-from-last-project), iron out the burlap (because it was uber wrinkly), fray the sides a bit, and plop it down - along with the candle tray - on our coffee table. Yay! It's already starting to look like fall in here.

One of my favourite things, and something I totally didn't even notice until I was mostly done writing about this, is that the burlap runner goes incredibly well with the natural-esque lampshades that we have in the living room. Believe me, these terrible cellphone pictures don't do it justice. (And yes, that is our wedding guestbook complete and together sitting on the table under the lamp!) 

Budget breakdown:
COFFEE TABLE: already owned (though it belongs to Lana so I'll have to replace it eventually) - $0
BURLAP RUNNER: leftover from another project - $0
CANDLE/PEBBLE TRAY: wedding present - $0

TOTAL: $0 - Fantastic.

Update: For anyone who doesn't have a candle/pebble tray, it would be totally easy to just through a few votives, and maybe some hurricane vases onto the burlap instead. Pebbles from outside (or the Dollarstore - if you're willing to spend $1) would make a great, quick and easy filler. I'd love to see someone do this with an assortment of containers for an asymetrical-chic look!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Let the Games Begin!

Well, its the end of day one. There are still some boxes sitting unpacked, but overall, things are looking much more livable then they did this morning (though I'm sitting in the living room, and that stucco irks me. I. want. it. dead.). Of course, day one in Our New House (!) wouldn't have been complete without a project of some kind!

Here's how it went. Derek and I were sitting in our bedroom.
I said, "Hey Derek, I wish we could take off that closet door and replace it with a curtain."
Derek: "Hey, that'd be a good idea. Why don't you?"
Chana: "Because we're poor and we can't buy a curtain."
Derek: "That doesn't mean you can't take the door off..."

 And so, I promptly decided that we would! And then promptly remembered that we'd left the toolbox at the apartment. So, off Derek and I went - to get the toolbox and anything else still at the apartment that could fit into our little hatchback (his name is Maverick, so I might just call him that from now on). It turned out that there was a lot more stuff at the apartment than we'd realized, so even though we filled up the car completely (and by completely, I mean completely. There was literally no more space in the car. You couldn't see out the back. I had a lamp on my lap. There was a toolbox by my feet. COMPLETELY FULL) there's probably still another load waiting at the apartment for us to pick up. And then once its gone, we still have to clean the apartment. Have I mentioned how much I'm not looking forward to that? Because I'm not. I already cleaned this house from top to bottom (with help from my friend Anja, of course) on Tuesday. And I have class tomorrow... gonna be a long day.

But back to the real reason for writing this: Closet Curtains! That's a technical term, I'm pretty sure. Now, I'm not the first home owner/blogger (though I am a NEW home owner!) to hang up some curtains in lieu of a closet door. You can check out some other examples hereherehere, or here.

Some people have doubts about using fabric as a door (and if you're using it as your front door, and you live in Manitoba, I'd have to agree that it's a terrible idea), but for a closet, it'd probably work. I think one thing that's important is getting nice looking fabric, because cheap material looks cheap - simply put. I'm leaning toward burlap, because I think it'll definitely give our room the very natural/beachy feeling that I'm leaning toward for the whole house (check out some awesome burlap curtains here or here).

But back to my story. So, like I said, our plan of taking off the door today got a bit derailed by moving more stuff to the house, after which Derek took a nap and I made us supper - some delicious pizza, which I am very proud of. First time I've ever made pizza on my own! Then we watched a Star Trek episode... cause we're nerds like that. And then, when 8 or 8:30 rolled around, I remembered my grand plan! So, I grabbed my box of tools, figured out what screw driver fit what part of the door, and went to work. You have to remember that this is the first time I've ever taken a bi-fold door off a door frame, so I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I just hoped that I wouldn't destroy the house I could get it off easily. Derek helped with the process and in the end, our bedroom closet ended up both in one piece, and without a door. Woo! First house mission accomplished.

Look at that. I like it better already! Can't wait to make some burlap curtains. And by make, I mean buy. Because I don't have a sewing machine - and I don't sew, even if I did have one.

And because no demo project is complete without its quirks, check out this pretty thing that lay beneath the bottom of the door's holder-thing (also a technical term). I'm not sure what we're going to do about that, so I guess it might just hang out there until we replace the floors... Any suggestions? Anyone? Feel free to comment!

A Brand New Home

As I write this, I'm lying on my bed, under the covers - because the new house is officially freezing. While in the last couple weeks at the apartment, we've had to turn on the heat for the first couple hours in the morning, it's nothing compared to the chill that has taken over our entire home. I mean, that's partially due to the fact that I had all the windows open in order to air out the place. But moving on from complaining! We're in our house! Even though possession date was on Tuesday, we didn't actually move in until yesterday, so today will be our first full day of living here.

As I mentioned before in my post on packing, Derek and I have never done a full on move before. For the most part, when we've moved, we've been able to fit all our stuff into one vehicle. We had no idea what were were in for. We started the process yesterday around 3:30 or 4:00, and we weren't finished until after 11:00 (and by finished, I mean finished for the day, because we still need to go back to the apartment to collect the few small things that are still cluttering up the place, and then we need to clean it) when we moved the washer and dryer from the apartment to our new house's basement.

But even with the sore backs and arms, the tired groggy outlook on life, the random boxes EVERYWHERE the funny smell of a house that hasn't been lived in for months, and the prospect of cleaning the apartment, we are so, so excited about being here. Last night, around 10:00, Derek told me how seeing all our things coming into the house made it so much more real for him. Even though he'd been lifting heavy boxes and pieces of furniture for six hours, it didn't matter because we were moving into our HOME. I'm not sure that words can really describe how happy we are to be starting this part of our life together, and how blessed we feel that only four months into being married, we're able to be starting this stage.

The house is full of quirks and odd little things, but even though I'm intimidated by the work that lies ahead of us (as we truly make this our home), I'm excited by the challenge - and the fact that Derek and I will be creating it ("it" being our life? Our home? Our family? Maybe all three and more) together.

It's so crazy to think that only three years ago, Derek and I had no idea that each other even existed, and now we're married and we've bought our first house - a place where we'll be able to grow together, to have family and friends stay in, to have parties and play games, and someday bring our children home to. Oh goodness, I'm getting all sentimental and my eyes are tearing up. Go me.

I have so many crazy ideas for this place (including, but not limited to: removing the stucco on the living room and master bedroom ceilings, replacing all the windows with ones that'll keep the heat in, doing complete bathroom and kitchen reno's - which will hopefully involve knocking out the wall between the kitchen and living room - giving the whole house a new colour scheme, installing hardwood floors? Please? - Derek isn't quite on board with that yet). Like I said before, I'm so excited to see what will become of our new home. A part of me is sad about leaving the apartment where Lana, Vickie and I built and strengthened the friendships that are with us today. A year and a half of living there meant hundreds of memories that I will always cherish, but I'm ready for the new adventure of marriage and house.

So, because I've bored you all to death with words, here are a few pictures of the new place. Keep in mind that we've hardly unpacked - except for the kitchen, which I got to work on right away - and that I'm using a cell phone camera (still! *sadface), but these should give a pretty good idea of where we're living.

Master bedroom:
Future Office (complete with all of Lana's stuff that we're storing for her, since we figured it would be easier to put it in there than to cart it upstairs):

 Bathroom (the pink tub is showing off since we didn't have a shower curtain up when I took the photo):
 Current living room (and hopefully future dining room?):

 Kitchen and Dining room (the only mostly unpacked rooms in the house):

 Stairs to upstairs...
 ...and upstairs hallway:
 Future spare bedroom #1:
Future spare bedroom #2:
 Stairway to the basement:

Future living room(?) - the pictures don't show how ginormous it is, but it's huge:

 Future working area (those are the old washer and dryer that came with the house, but we already have our own, so if you know someone who needs a washer and dryer, let us know):
Basement pantry:
And finally, laundry/utility room:
And there she is: our beautiful new home, just waiting for some lovin'. Hope you all enjoyed the photos. Maybe once we're unpacked completely, we'll do a video tour!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Come on baby, do the Locomotion

Yup. I just quoted a song that was written way before I was born. 1960's baby.

Anyway, the great event that inspired my swing back to the 60's was the fact that I've officially boarded the Pinterest train.

Woo. Pinterest! For those of you who aren't living in 2012 don't know what Pinterest is, it's essentially a place to collect all the things in life that inspire you, whether it's home decor, fashion, books, etc. The website works by taking pictures from other websites, and collecting them all in one place - with the links back to the original website. It's a great way to keep all those pesky bookmarks in one place - if you're crazy about organizing the way I am.

I suppose technically I joined Pinterest months ago, when I first got on the Stumbleupon train, but I actually haven't gotten into it, until... two days ago? I think that's right. Anyway. That's my new obsession. You should all check it out. Might give you good ideas for Christmas presents? *wink wink nudge nudge. Just kidding! But really, check it out.

Also: For anyone waiting to see wedding pictures, I'd like to let you know that we finally got them! Woo. It'll probably still be awhile yet, though, before we get the actual rights to the shots, so sorry, but I can't put them up on here yet. Boo. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

On the Hunt

So, you may well know me enough to know that in this whole buying a house process, I've been planning out all my crazy ideas for what to do with the place. One thing I've been thinking about is the kitchen. I would luuuurve a stainless steel (or some other kind of metal) island with a butcher block top. Our kitchen is so tiny, that the added working and storage space would be perfect. Of course, because the kitchen is so tiny, we'll need something that is narrow, and very open so as to keep the room feeling open. So, off I went on the hunt! However, most models I could find - that actually look nice - are upwards of $1000... Either that or they aren't really what I'm looking for - all stainless, or all wood, or some really weird combination that looks nothing like what I imagine!

Like for instance, there's this one from Bellacor, which is gorgeous - gotta love those curves! - but is over $1500 (cue the sad music):

Or there's this one from William Sonoma, but even saying that name makes me wince, knowing the price tags that come. Guess how much? Almost $2000... And though I do really like the grid work, it kind of eliminates the extra storage space - since Derek and I don't drink that much wine:

There's this one from West Elm for $500, and while it has the metal and wood elements going on, they're backwards of what I'm hoping for. And besides, $500 is still way more than I'd like to spend:

And besides these, there were a variety of other "options" that were closer to our price range, but just so wrong, like these herehere, or here. *sadface. Was it time to give up? And just as I was about to give up on my very disappointing search, I ended up at Ikea, and I saw this

And immediately I thought to myself, well hello there lovely! Such shiny, straight lines, such storage space (can't you just imagine a towel hanging from those side bars?), such perfection! And it's only $229, which still isn't cheap, but is less than half the price than even the afore mentioned West Elm island. I could have bought it on the spot! ...except that it doesn't have a pretty wood top. Were my dreams of steel and wood to be dashed forever? No! For in the face of such a dark hour, I had the most brilliant idea: why not DIY a butcher block top? People install counter tops all the time. So, that's the plan - after we move in, redo the kitchen, and I research how to install a butcher block onto a flat metal surface...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Moving Excitement!

Well, it sure has been awhile since I posted anything on here (note: it's been a over a month). So, I figured I should get on that blogging thing, and what else would I write about besides the craziest biggest thing in our lives write now: moving!

Right now my house is a complete disaster: boxes everywhere, half packed piles of things, tape and markers hanging out on all spare surfaces (and the floor in some cases). It's like there was an explosion with my house and a Tim Hortens box factory (because that's where we got all the boxes - for free even!). I've never really done this whole move-my-entire-life-all-at-once thing before. Sure I moved over a province, but we've moved my stuff so slowly, a little more each time, it was never quite like this.

In this process, I've continually wished that Lana was here to help (and though I've spent the past week with her, it was in Alberta, not the wreck that is our apartment!). So alas, while Lana is in Alberta, I am left to organize, sort, and pack up our entire existence. Now, Derek, of course, has played his part - in providing the money to make the move possible, not by helping in the packing department.

But of course, let me stop lamenting the moving process and tell you all about the house that Derek and I are moving into on Wednesday! (We get the keys on Tuesday, but my friend Anja and I will be cleaning the place from top to bottom that day, so the moving procedure will be the next day). When Derek and I first started talking about buying a house - or rather when I first started talking TO Derek about buying a house - I'm pretty sure we weren't even married yet! We came up with a plan to wait until January, when our lease at the apartment was up. But, pretty much as soon as the honeymoon was over, we were looking at real-estate magazines, and I was browsing various websites. Whenever we'd drive around town, I'd keep an eye out for "For Sale" signs. After not very long, Derek and I decided to meet with a local real-estate agent to check out a house that was completely adorable from the outside. Though the house was out of our range, and it turned out we didn't like it nearly as much from the inside, the house hunt continued.

Sometime in June or July (I forget the exact date!) we met our current real-estate agent, Elma Friesen and went to see three houses with her. As soon as we stepped into the second one, we knew we'd found it. A little four bedroom right near "downtown". The pink tub, stuccoed ceilings, and bright yellow exterior had us at hello! Well, to be honest, those weren't our favourite features, but the house promised a challenge - as well as the potential for something spectacular for someone who gave it some love.

So without further ado, our house (so, so, so pumped for Wednesday... both us and the house!):