Thursday, December 22, 2011

Subject: Christmas Stockings

Melissa -

As with our other Christmas decorations, for our stockings I once again drew inspiration from the Secrets from a Stylist holiday special, especially this picture:

I love how these stockings still look like stockings when they're hung over a mantel, but they're not the faux fur-lined numbers I had growing up. However, I did want something that had more traditional Christmas colors in it (like, red) and I did not have a ton of time to spend on creating stockings from scratch (or the patience really).

At Target I found stockings in the $1 section that I thought would be good to work with - and hello, you cannot beat the price! So even if I only use them a few times, I don't have that much invested in them. I went ahead and bought four so I would have all that I would need (and matching!) for Christmas next year. Next I went to Joann Fabrics and checked out their flannel selection. Not great, but I did re-find some flannel that I have been loving from afar for awhile but had no projects designated for it...until now. I kind of liked the idea of each stocking having different flannel trim on it, but given the limited selection I decided to make them all the same. Finally, I printed off some letters from Word to use as stencils. Here are my supplies:

I created little foot and heel patches by tracing the end of the stocking on to paper and cutting it out to make a pattern. Next I started on the letters. After I cut them out from computer paper, I then traced them onto a file folder and cut them out again, because I felt like the thicker paper would work better for tracing onto the actual fabric. It was a little more time-intensive, but I think the results were worth it. To adhere, I used fabric glue (because why sew???) and I love the results!
Right? Here is a close-up:

I think they look really interesting but not mass-produced, which is totally what I was going for. I also kind of like that the flannel isn't a traditional red-and-green theme, but still has red in it to make it work with the red stocking. I also liked how Emily didn't use traditional stocking hangers over the mantel but instead strung them up using gold chain from the hardware store. I did not have any gold chain so I used some twine. Maybe next year I will come up with something even more creative...we'll see! But for now, I am just glad I can mark stockings off my list.

And yes, I bought enough fabric to personalize next year's addition!

Season's greetings!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Subject: A Very Homemade Holiday

Melissa -

Oh my gosh - I have so enjoyed watching your master bath's transformation! I cannot wait to see the finished project. What are you doing for fixtures (light, faucets, mirrors, etc.)? I'm sure your choices will be flawless, but the suspense is killing me!

Over in the Casa de Lass, I have been busy at work getting ready for Christmas and breathing new life into my childhood relics. Would you believe this is the first year we have ever put up a Christmas tree? This will be our sixth Christmas as a married couple - and no tree! Mostly it's because we have always been gone on Christmas day, so it seemed silly to put one up when we wouldn't even be here on the actual day to enjoy it. But this year everyone is coming to us, so we decided to get into the Christmas spirit. Of course, having never decorated a tree (or our house, really), we were essentially starting from scratch.

For some reason, Christmas decorations stress me out. First, I feel like I have a hard enough time with decorating my house for the other 11 months of the year, so focusing on decorating for just one holiday has always seemed daunting. I would rather spend my money and energy on decorations I can use year-round, you know? Plus I don't know what to do with all the decorations once Christmas is over. My house is not brimming with extra storage, so I hated the idea of having to find a place to store decorations. And lastly, so many of the decorations out there are just ugly and super-commercial, which is not at all appealing. So instead I decided to make all our decorations.

First up: ornaments. I wanted everything to have a homemade vibe and give off a feeling of what better than yarn??? I was inspired by Secrets from a Stylist's holiday special and found 4-packs of Styrofoam balls for $1 at the Dollar General and then found some cheap yarn at Joann Fabrics. Here are my materials before:

And the finished product, after:

There are 40 total. I actually got really fast at it towards the end, but I was so happy when I was done!

Next, I needed to figure out what to do about a tree topper. I didn't want to do a typical star or angel, so I decided to brand the tree as our own, like any true Southerner. I found a chipboard M at Hobby Lobby on sale for, like, 75 cents and then went and looked at the holiday floral section. Here is what I was working with:

And the after:

I really like the look of it! I hot glued each of the berries and then topped it with the crystals to add some flair. I mean, it's not perfect, but I think it's fun and different. I glued yarn across the two points of the M to hang it on the top branch and it is resting on some lower branches for added support.

Here is a shot of the whole tree:

I used some burlap as my tree skirt and added a little bit of sparkle to the tree with some silver bells (and now that song is in my head...).

The whole thing achieves what I was going for and nothing is breakable (great for curious little fingers)! Tomorrow I'll show you our stockings!

Bye bye,


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Subject: I've Lost My Marbles

Hellllllooooo Kara!

Today it's about to get international.  It's time to discuss marble.  When the Mr. and I started planning this project, When I started begging the Mr. that we should redo the bathroom, When I told the Mr. we were redoing the bathroom, we were trying to look at what would be the most cost effective option for the vanity.  We had discussed (for about 2.2 seconds) keeping the existing cabinets and just replacing the top.  After that idea was squashed, we considered doing a "pre-made" piece a la Restoration Hardware:

Hutton Double Vanity Sink

The problem with this is the space we have is 100" long and pre-made pieces are generally 72" wide.  So basically we were going to lose both storage space and countertop space.  After finding Cabinets To Go we were sold and realized something more custom would be the way to go.

Upon making that decision my sidekick and I (that would be my mom) were on the hunt for a fab countertop.  Using this image as my inspiration...we were off.

When it comes to bathrooms, needing only 100" long of material, plus the backsplash which gives you about 25 ft. total, you don't need a full slab.  What's a girl to do???  Boneyard.  Yes, granite and marble companies have boneyards, which are remnants that are usually sold at a good price.  Here's the catch...whatever they have is what they have.  I made A LOT of phone calls and I have to say not a lot of places had boneyards.  But there was one that did!  We looked, got an idea of the selection and then was told we really should only choose from the boneyard about one week out of when we need the piece.  The pressure, the pressure.  What if when the time came there wasn't something that I LOOOOVEEEEDDD?!?!?  And then the magic words were spoken.  "If you don't see something you like outside, we can just sell you what you need from inside.  You don't have to buy the entire slab."  (Insert sound of angels singing)  The decision was made...or so I thought.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  Tile installer recommends a granite and marble place he likes to use.  I call, talk to someone, let them know what I'm looking for and hear, "We've got a remnant that just might work for you and the price is GREAT!"  Sidekick and I rush right over and find this...

It's okay, but it didn't make my heart go pitter patter.  I wanted veins.  I wanted drama.  So, after that disappointing drive by, sidekick and I decided to swing by the original place.  The place where I heard angels sing. 

We look around the boneyard...saw a few things...reminded the girl again of what I was looking for...saw the lightbulb go off for her...and then we were brought to Italy.  May I present our marble slab....

She was just what I hoped for!!  Not quite the same as the inspiration, but she has the veins, the drama and she is pure perfection.  Best news is, after all was said and done, we found a remnant of her in the showroom.  Let's just wrap this up with another cha-ching!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Subject: Tile...Check

Ta-da!  That's right...we have tile and grout!!  What do you think?  The tile guys kept raving about how great they thought it looked, and the hubs and I could not be more thrilled!!

Here's the schedule for the rest of the week:
Today - The shower glass enclosure company comes to measure
Tomorrow - The cabinets get installed
Friday - The marble templater comes to to template for the counter top

Tomorrow's discussion...marble.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Subject: Cabinets To Go

Good morning Kara!

Today's "email" is one I advise you to save should you ever be in the market for new cabinets.  When we first started the process of deciding to redo our bathroom, we were on the fence with regard to replacing our vanity.

The Current Vanity
It is white, and we were planning on still keeping the white.  But it is low...very low!  And with a 6 foot something husband, washing his face and brushing his teeth requires a lot of bending.  So, we started researching.  And we hit a lot of dead ends.  One place even quoted me $5,000 for cabinets!  INSANE!  I mean they were beautiful, but INSANE.

Thankfully, my mom, and avid HGTV watcher, remembered hearing about Cabinets To Go.  While the selection isn't huge, this place had EXACTLY what I was looking for!  We ended up with the Findley & Myers Malibu White as seen here (Please excuse that this is a kitchen, but you get the gist):

And here are the sketches of exactly what we ordered: 

This is a sink base, so we have two of these.

This is for the middle section where the vanity seat area used to be.
I figured it was silly to keep the sitting down vanity area since I never sit to put on makeup or do my hair.  Plus the selection of cute vanity seats is far and few between.  And the Shaker style cabinets, was exactly what I wanted.  A few places I found that sold them said they were veneer in the middle, but there are all wood.  So for under $1000 I'm getting three cabinets, delivery and someone to install them.  Not too shabby!!

And not to sound like an infomercial for Cabinets To Go, because I promise I'm paying the full price for them, but I found out they can offer such great prices because they only offer a small selection of products.  Also, it's owned by the  same guy who owns Lumber Liquidators.  Not that I've ever purchased anything from there, but I've hear the name.

So, I'll let you know how it all turns out, but as of now I'm thrilled.

Cha-Ching!  (That was because I saved so much money! HA HA)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Subject: Gray is my mom's least favorite color

Hi Kara - Hope you had a good weekend!!  Ours was "fun."  I mean, we painted.  So, I'm not quite sure if that constitutes as fun, but I always enjoy quality time with the hubs.

I'm pretty sure I shared some of these before pictures with you in the past but here they are as a refresher...

 I know, I know.  They make you wonder how we lived with a half carpet/half tile and all gold bathroom for a year.  Real pretty.  Especially knowing in my mind how AMAZING the after is going to be.  Well, this weekend, with paintbrushes in hand (I'm the cutter and the Mr. is the sounds like we are into some self-destructive behavior) we painted. 

The entire bathroom is a vision in my head and since I selected the tile, I knew I wanted a gray bathroom.  Funny thing is, my mom HATES the color gray.  She just thinks it's sad.  However, she helped me select my perfect bathroom shade, and I'm thankful she can see my vision and doesn't try and change my mind.  So, we went with Sherwin-Williams Rhinestone. 

If you are going to pick a gray, might as well pick one with a fab name.  Here are a few pictures of our weekend masterpiece.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Subject: D-Day

Kara - Today is finally here!!  D-DAY!!  aka DEMO DAY!!

More details to come.