Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Master Bedroom Remodel: Paneled Wall Installation

We've been hard at work on the master bedroom and here's a quick update on what we've completed. This past weekend we finished installing the paneled walls and I love it so far.

I don't know what he's measuring here, I was just excited that we were finally getting started so I snapped a photo. And he looks cute with a measuring tape and tools.
Ok here's the real stuff. We bought these 4'x8' MDF wall panels from Lowe's because after extensive research, we decided it was the simplest and most economical way to get the tongue and groove look we wanted.
We cut them to 5' (eye level) and just installed them on the wall using a nail gun, cutting out holes for the outlets and around the window trim. And by "we" I pretty much just carried around the level and tried to look cute and not get in the way.
Then David added a chair rail on top of the panels. We bought pre-primed 16' 1x4 pine boards, again at Lowe's. He got all fancy and routered out part of the back so it actually slides perfectly on top of the panel.
Here's the chair rail fully installed. Again, he just used the nail gun to attach it to the wall (sorry, these are iPhone pics).
Then we had to spend some time doing what David wanted so we spent our weekend afternoons fishing...
And yes, I caught way more fish than him, both Saturday and Sunday. I'm not sure he'll keep inviting me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bedroom Paint Ordeal

Oh yeah...our bedroom. Riiiiiiight.

You'll learn, if you read our blog long enough, that David and I are the exact opposite of the Ferris Buellers of the world. We're more like the Miltons from Office Space. Absolutely nothing comes easy for us. Although maybe, if I really think about it, I should rethink that statement. We're all in control of our own reality, and it's usually my fault that everything takes forever for us. I.am.the.worlds.worst.decision.maker. It's true. We looked at 15 wedding venues and 25 houses before finding our perfect ones. Good thing David loves me.
Remember when I said the room was half painted? I was serious.
I only painted the upper half of the walls. Why? Because....drum roll....we're going to be paneling the bottom! WOOT WOOT. If that doesn't get you excited....um well, you're probably normal. Also go read a different blog, cause nothing around here is normal. A while back I wrote about how obsessed I am with tongue and groove paneling. And we never finished doing it in the hallway because of course...it requires an electrician. Like I said...nothing's normal, or simple, around here. More on that later though. Today we're talking about the bedroom, and how long it's taken me to pick a paint color.

To be fair, I knew exactly what I wanted. In my head. Matching a paint color to something in your head is difficult, and that's the reason we've been stalled for 3 months. I started with only about 247 paint swatches, and settled on Valspar's Sparkling Lake. I stared at the swatch for a good few weeks, so I was convinced it was the one. I brought it home, painted half the walls, and hated it. It was supposed to be the middle color below. Looks like the left one to me, how about you?
So I brought it back and had them remix it. Then it matched the middle swatch, but was still not what I wanted. So now I had painted the walls twice and hated the result both times.

So I went out a picked up a whole bunch of samples. Two from Ben Moore, two from Sherwin Williams, a bunch from Valspar and some random colors I found on the Home Depot / Lowe's clearance racks that I had stashed in the basement.
And I tried them all.
There they stayed, and I occasionally added another possibility, for about a month. Still, none looked right.

So I decided to just start fresh. There were just too many versions of green and blue spackled all over the wall for me to think straight. I primed (twice) to give myself a fresh base to work with and painted all the samples again.
I forgot to take a picture of the samples, but it's irrelevant because again, I didn't like any of them.

So my last resort was trying to match the color to my inspiration photo for the room. I downloaded Benjamin Moore's Color Capture App, and used the eyedropper to choose the color from the photo (where the light was right on the wall) and I got about 4 color options.
I went and got all 4 color swatches, brought them back to the room, and narrowed it down to White Rain, as well as Palladian Blue, which I'd already painted and was still considering. I brought those two swatches to Lowe's and had them color match me two samples (sorry Ben, you're too rich for my blood). Remember when I said this was an ordeal? I don't lie. Then I primed over all the others and left these two samples on the wall...
You can't tell from that horrible photo, but the White Rain paint was exactly what I was looking for. Finally.
So this past Saturday I painted the top half of the room in White Rain, and I luuuurve it. It's about time, huh?

Actual number of paint swatches in our house: 106
Money spent on paint: About $85 (I seriously hope I added that wrong)
Hours spent on painting: About 25
Finally finding the right color after three months: Priceless

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Belated Birthday Pupcake

On Tuesday Miss Oats turned two. Isn't that supposed to be the magic number when puppies turn into dogs and totally mellow? Oh really, cause that's what everyone told us. Well, surprise! Still as crazy as ever. David's had softball playoffs all week and we had a family birthday dinner, soooo Oats didn't get her pupcake until last night. I don't even have children and I'm already the worst mom ever. On the other hand, she's a dog and doesn't care.

We did do her birthday photos on her actual birthday right before David's game. Here's the winner.
 As always, we took several, so here's a few extras.
And then tonight we celebrated with a grain-free peanut butter and banana "pupcake" recipe from K9 Instinct, a site with lots of great grain-free dog treat recipes. You can also read about the pros and cons of a grain-free pet diet here. We switched Oats over a few months ago to see if it would help with her stomach issues. Keeping my fingers crossed, so far so good.
She ate her cupcake and then shared one with her best buddy Barley. For the second year in a row, I couldn't get a photo of them both eating their cupcakes together....they scarfed them up too fast. So I'll just give you a picture of them playing together yesterday while I frosted their pupcakes.
By the way, these pupcakes smelled and tasted delicious (I'll admit I snuck a bite). Don't judge...there's no ingredients in them that I wouldn't eat alone.

Now I'm off to paint in this scorching heat. Hope you're all staying cool.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Belong With You, You Belong With Me

We talk a lot about how crazy our dog is. She really is. She's nuts.
Everyone that knows and loves her knows we're not exaggerating. She could win a competition for the world's most hyper dog, and has many times been compared to Marley.
She is a non-stop ball of energy, and although we've brought her through (and graduated from) behavior classes, she doesn't seem to understand the concept of good behavior, or she just doesn't care.
She jumps on people, is mouthy, eats socks, goes in the hamper to find socks, climbs on the couches, takes off in the yard, chews her leash, the list goes on.
Is having a dog exactly what I expected? No. Was I hopeful I'd be able to do things with her that I can't? Yes. Was I planning on training her to be a therapy dog? Well, yes...but now that thought makes me laugh. It's just not her personality. That's ok. How often do things turn out like you expect? It's all part of learning to love and appreciate what you have, and moving on from the things you had "expected." And I love my dog more than I ever expected.

I love all her unique qualities and special personality...

Socks are pretty much the only thing she'll eat besides her own toys.
Since she was a puppy we've left shoes around and she's never touched a-one-of-em. She's actually quite delicate about picking up toys that happen to roll near our shoes....it's somewhat strange how careful she is about them.
So we just keep socks away from her and put something on top of the hamper to keep her from getting them. When she mysteriously gets her mouth on one, she brings it right to us and refuses to drop it, like it's all part of the game.
Her other favorite is tennis balls, but she can't handle fetch because she hates giving up control of having the ball.
She was house trained in about 4 days. Booya.
We recently started leaving her out in the house during the day. She is perfectly well behaved when she's home alone. Before, when we used to leave her in her crate, she would willingly go in without hesitation. I could put on my coat and grab my keys, not saying a word, and she would run into her crate like she knew I was leaving.
She's smart and knows all the commands we've taught her, she just doesn't always choose to obey them, but we're working on that.
Unlike many dogs (like our neighbor's), Oats rarely ever barks. She's done it maybe 10 times total, and only when she thinks someone's breaking into the house. All 10 times it's been the mailman or UPS. So I think we have a good protector on our hands.
She smells good. This is strange...sorry.
And oh man is she fun. She entertains us and makes us laugh and smile every day. Everyone who knows her knows she has a very sweet side and a personality that cant be matched, even though she's a non-stop ball of energy and teeth most of the time.
She has a lot of awesome quirks that make her special, like when she yawns she sounds like she's meowing... (sorry for the tiny video images and yes, a three yawn montage was the best I could get)
When she lays down she stretches out so her back legs are extended.
And yes, she is crazy and rambunctious and sometimes annoying and high maintenance. But I wouldn't trade her for any other dog. She's the perfect dog for us, and we're the perfect owners for her. Not everyone would be able to handle her, but I love her to pieces even when she's difficult.
I love her for all her quirks, good and bad.
She is truly my companion, which is the whole point. She is a part of our family, not just a pet. Having a dog is a privilege, and it's a responsibility as much as it is fun. I will rearrange my schedule so Oats can do things with me, even if it's inconvenient. Being a dog owner is challenging, but so so rewarding.
So even though I always say she's crazy, I don't take her for granted. I know I'm blessed to have her. I hug and kiss her every day and tell her I love her even though she doesn't understand what that means. Even though David and I both grumble and roll our eyes at her craziness, she's still our puppy and we wouldn't trade her for the world. She belongs with us...
Happy 2nd Birthday Baby Oatsy.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Jaclyn's Bridal Shower

As usual, I'm way behind on the pics. Exactly one month ago today my second brother (aka my brother-in-law) married his soul mate. He got a wife, and I, well I got a sister.

Let's just say I wasn't the nicest future sister-in-law to ever walk the earth when I first met Jaclyn, but I have grown to love this girl an incredible amount. She is beautiful inside and out and has such a big heart and a good sense of humor. So their wedding was very special to me because I gained a sister from someone who I'm so happy to even call a friend. I have a few photos from their wedding too, but I figured in the interest of chronology, I figured I'd post her bridal shower pics first. I said I was behind on my photos!

I had the honor of sitting up front and getting to shoot some photos at her shower. Remember that I'm still in the early stages of shooting manually, and I'm not excellent at it. The light was all behind her, and my skills at getting the light right are feeble at best. Maybe by the time she has a baby shower I'll be a little better. Give me some time though guys I have a lot of improving to do!

I accidentally showed up a half hour early, but it worked out nicely because I was able to get some photos of the decor before anyone was there. The theme for the shower was Downton Abbey, so they used teapots, teacups, flowers, lace gloves and pearls to decorate. Everything was pink and very feminine, and the moms and bridesmaids did an amazing job.
And now we add the bride...
She saved her sisters' gifts for last....Jenna gave her the soda stream (which she and Andrew use all the time), and Lauren gave her the beautiful champagne flutes for their wedding.
This was my gift...which I'll blog in more detail later, but I made her and Andrew personalized aprons because they love to cook together.
She did a little modeling for us of both hers and Andrew's. I was thrilled that she liked them and they fit :)
Andrew came by at the end to chat with all the ladies and help Jaclyn bring everything home. I had to snap this pic quickly from my seat because everyone wanted to see them...hence the weird angle.
Aunt Jan waited to give them this wedding scrapbook until Andrew came. It was sweet because Andrew and Aunt Jan both share a love of scrapbooking.
Here's the cute couple modeling their aprons. Like I said, everyone was demanding their attention so I couldn't get them to both look at me together. Guess they'll have to model them another time for me. K guys?
This was my favorite picture of the day...Jaclyn and all but one of her bridesmaids who couldn't make it that day. So pretty...
It was a beautiful shower and I was happy to be a part of it. Jac I hope you enjoy these photos :)
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