Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Recap

Another year, another wonderful Christmas spent with family eating, drinking and playing games!

Christmas morning drinks, Christmas Eve sandwiches and soup after church, Christmas Bingo

Like many of my fellow Dallas residents, we were a little surprised and happy to have a white Christmas.

The weather was awesome while we were inside and warm all day, but not as much fun later when we had to go out and scrape down the car so Chris could get to work the next day.

This year, we had the joy of having my brother's girlfriend celebrate with us!  She had so much fun cleaning house in the games, I know she'll be coming back!

After a couple of trips to the storage shed, mom and I were able to bring out the festive spirit of the season.

Christmas decorations and our traditional breakfast casserole

As Dennis and I have gotten older, our family Christmas traditions have evolved.  While we still do open gifts, most of our day is spent playing games with the family.  We all come up with games to lead, and everyone loves trying to win additional prizes.  This year in addition to Christmas Bingo, we came up with 2012 trivia, a version of Take It All, an old school Price is Right game called Hurdles (it didn't last too long on the actual show), Logo trivia and several hands of black jack, war and left right center.

Set up for Take It All

Working on Logo Trivia

Gifts galore! 

Dennis trying to get through the maze to open some gift cards

Great minds think alike - Danielle and I both got new Kindle Fire HDs

The guys checking out one of the posters I gave Chris for his future game room.  It's the periodic table of game system controllers. 

One of the most thoughtful gifts was a DIY gift from Chris.  Getting the idea from one of the projects I wanted to do out of the Young House Love book, Chris made a silhouette of Gypsy and her paw print ornament for our gallery wall.  I LOVE it! 

Although this week off has been going way too fast (can't believe that it's already Thursday), I have enjoyed some down time to get in a little reading, finishing off the first Harry Potter book (yes I know I'm late to the party) as well as Fallen by Lauren Kate.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Living Room Reno Near Complete

And just in time for Christmas!

Before Thanksgiving, the living room had been transformed by the new floors.  We called upon our amazing contractor once again to handle the popcorn ceiling and painting.  Painting is normally something we handle ourselves, but with a two story foyer we figured it would be easier to leave it to the pros.  It was a construction zone for a couple of days...

...but that was it.  2 days after the team started, they were cleaning up and heading out.  Mom selected Sherwin-Williams' Tinsmith, which is a light grey, to paint the foyer, living room and up the stairs.

I love how the paint makes the white trim pop.

Freshly painted living room!

Since mom and dad prioritized removal of the popcorn ceiling, that left little room in the budget for new furniture.  While I know that new furniture will come along down the road, for right now they were able to squeeze in a new rug, TV stand, and a newer modern fan.

Once the popcorn was removed, the team did add some texture to the ceiling in order to match the texture on the walls.

I see some shopping trips in the future to pick out those finishing pieces like a mirror or art for above the fireplace.  My parents still have plans to get a larger TV, and once that comes in they intend for it to be hung on the wall.  The room isn't completely finished, but the major renovations of new floors, new ceiling and paint are complete.  Details and new furniture will be worked on along the way.

And one last before and after of the living room.

You may notice in the after shot that the fireplace looks different.  The team glazed it, and although it may be popular in newer houses to show the detail in the mantel, it didn't really fit in with our house.  Our contractor had no hurt feelings, and quickly sent someone to paint it back to white.

Now to enjoy this room with the family for Christmas! I'll try and pop in before the new year, but if I don't I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season!

This year's holiday card thanks to Tiny Prints

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bee Ornaments

One of my favorite traditions tied to being a Weddingbee blogger is the annual exchange of ornaments during the holidays!

I love my little elephant ornaments from the past two years and can't wait to see what comes my way this year!

2010 Ornament from Mrs. Thimble

2011 Ornament from Mrs. Tulip

My draw this year was Mrs. Buffalo and I had a great time utilizing Etsy as well as some handcrafting skills to produce her first official bee ornament.

I ordered the Buffalo felt ornament from Wendi who owns the Enchanted Forest Crafts Etsy shop.  I created the little flower from felt, crystals and glue to resemble the bee moniker.  I was in the mood for a little more crafting, so I created a little bee ornament out of polymer clay (similar to what I used last year to make our wedding cake ornament) to go with the buffalo.

Do you buy or make any special ornaments to add to your Christmas tree?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Card Display

First, I can't thank you all enough for how sweet your comments were on my last post about Gypsy.  She brought so much to my life and I'm happy to have so many pictures and memories of her.  She was a staple in our holiday cards and I'm glad she was able to make one last appearance on our card this year.

Holiday cards.  I love sending them and I love receiving them!  It's always so exciting to pick up the mail in December, hoping to see something other than junk mail.  The only problem is that I've never had a way to properly display them.

During our days in the apartment, I would just stand them up on our pass through and hope that they didn't fall down when people walked by.

This year, I wanted that to change.  I looked through Pinterest and the web until I had an idea of what I wanted to make.  After picking up my supplies (frame, ribbon, mini clothes pins and letters) from Micheal's I was ready to get started.

I used adhesive spray and glitter that I had on hand to brighten up the letters.

A little bit of tacky glue to attach the ribbon and letters to the frame, clip on the cards and I was good to go.

An easy project and a great way to display the holiday cards every year!

Do you enjoy sending holiday cards?  How do you display them?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Love This Dog

I started this post this weekend and sadly after another 2 visits to the vet, Gypsy passed away yesterday evening.  She was an amazing dog and I will love her always.

One of the first pictures I took of Gypsy

Last Thursday was a range of emotions as my dog Gypsy loss consciousness. I was working from home, quickly called the vet to change the appointment I had already made for Friday and rushed her over to be checked out.

Gypsy is more than a pet to me.  I've had fish and hermit crabs and hamsters, but no pet has seen me through as much as Gypsy.  I adopted her from the local animal shelter in 2006 right before I moved into my first post college apartment.  Living with a roommate and another dog was OK, but when our 6 month lease was up Gypsy and I packed up and moved out on our own.  For a couple of years (before I met Chris and he moved in) it was just the two of us.  She was part of the first solo Christmas card I sent back in 2006.

She's been there during the entire duration of dating, engagement and now marriage to Chris.  He might not always admit it (especially when he has to cover my early morning walks with her), but I know he loves her just as much.  

Engagement picture from Lynn Michelle

So when she stumbled, fell over and then didn't move I freaked out.  We made it to the vet and were quickly taken back.  Gypsy has always had a heart mummer, but there wasn't really anything that we could do about it.  After describing what happened, coupled with her coughing up (similar to what I imagine a cat would sound like coughing up a hair ball) he took her back for an x ray.

And I waited.

The vet came to the conclusion that Gypsy has Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart.  The only good news to come from the x-ray was that he did not see a build up of fluid in her lungs.  From PetMD:

"When the heart's ventricle does not pump enough blood into the lungs, fluid begins to accumulate in the lungs.  An enlarged heart soon becomes overloaded and this often leads to congestive heart failure"

He prescribed two different medications that she is now taking twice a day.  There isn't really a way to cure what is wrong with her heart, but we are trying to do everything we can to help her until there is nothing left for us to do.

She's had three more fainting episodes since we left the vet, which normally come after she exerts too much energy.  We've cut back the distance on her walks, and take it very slowly.  The two medications didn't seem to be slowing her heart rate any, so we were back in the vet's office for a third medication.  I'm hoping these will do the trick to reduce the 240 beats per minute this poor little dog was dealing with.

As a result of this discovery, I decided to do something I've been meaning to do for a while.

Using some of the left over white clay from the Carnival funnel, Chris assisted me in capturing Gypsy's paw print for an ornament that I will cherish forever. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest Post: Everyday Adventures

I'm guest posting on Everyday Adventures today!  Head on over to Everyday Adventures to check out the series on holidays past!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yearly Christmas Ornaments

Every year since Chris and I have been together, I have tried to make or buy an ornament with a special memory for that year.  Some ornaments have included our various travels and some commemorate major life moments (like getting married).  A couple of my past favorites include:


We picked up this ornament to remember our first "big" trip together (one that involved a plane flight).


I custom ordered this one off of Etsy to commemorate the year we were engaged and our big trip to Disney World shortly after Chris popped the question.


Image on the left from the amazing Lynn Michelle

Last year was the first year that I tried my hand at making an ornament out of polymer clay.  What better way to remember our wedding day than a mini recreation of our wedding cake?

After thinking back on our 2012 memories, I decided to handcraft an ornament to remind us of our time at sea!  We sailed on Carnival back in 2009, right after our engagement and this year we hit the water again right before our 1st anniversary.  Carnival is recognized for the red funnel (or whale tail) on each of it's boats, so that's what I decided to make.

Funnel on the Glory and Liberty

And here's my little version of it in clay form.

We love cruising and can't wait for our next one booked for early 2014.

Have you made any crafts for the holiday season?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let There Be Light!

I feel like I say it with every renovation, but what a difference it makes!

This time around we finally got rid of the huge fluorescent kitchen light.

I never really noticed until now, but the fact that it's not really centered over the island kind of bugs me.

Our contractor sent a skilled electrician who banged it out in one day.  Down with the fluorescent piece and up with four canned lights and two blue pendant lights. 


You might notice the hole next to the pendant on the right.  That was left from the big fluorescent light and will be patched up when the team comes to scrape the popcorn ceiling off.

A nice little close up of the blue pendant lights.

I was surprised that Mom opted for blue (because her favorite color is red and we saw some nice red ones), but it looks really good against the yellow.  

And a nice side by side, before and after of the light change.

One more item crossed off the list of kitchen updates!

Have you changed up the lighting in your house?  Did you do it yourself or leave it to an electrician? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many things that I am thankful for including (and not limited to) my husband, my family & friends, Gypsy, employment, the ability to travel, our health, my sewing machine, sweet tea, mac & cheese, strawberries, modern technology, and the chance to build for our dreams.

Hope everyone has an amazing holiday today, enjoying great food with friends and family!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Out With The Old Carpet

And in with the new wood floors! 

We haven't made it to the complete afters for the living room renovations, but I wanted to show the progress that we have made so far.

Here's a before shot of the living room, old carpet and all.

I had to get one last shot of the tile in front of the fireplace because it wouldn't be making a reappearance. 

Mom and I moved out all of that furniture the night before the team came in to lay down the new floor.

24 hours later and the room just felt so much larger with the new laminate wood floors installed.

We wanted the room painted and to have the popcorn ceiling removed prior to Thanksgiving, but the timing just wasn't going to cut it.  Hopefully before Christmas it'll all get done.  As we were putting the furniture back in the living room, there was one piece that Mom was not at all excited about working back into the space.

See that entertainment center?  It used to hold an old tube TV before my brother Dennis, Chris & I gave my parents a flat screen for Christmas a couple of years ago.  The entertainment center is a large piece, with several places to just hoard things like tapes from the 1996 Olympics.  It just wasn't needed anymore.  So we made use of Chris' truck and hauled that not so light piece of furniture to the Salvation Army for donation. 

Mom and Dad made the rounds to local thrift stores and furniture outlets before stumbling upon this beauty.

It's much smaller and frees up even more space in this room.  Once the walls are painted, the plan is to mount the TV on the wall and get rid of that fake plant that is currently in place just to hide the old Satellite cable and phone line.  Just keeping it real. Dad will finally remove those lines that have not been used since my college days.

Have you purchased any new furniture piece lately?  Did you or your parents used to record anything and everything that they thought would be a once in a lifetime type of event?