Month : March 2012

be awesome today.

When I ordered the wall decals for our front entry and master bedroom, I added one final little guy to my order for just above the door from our kitchen out to the garage – the door we use most frequently to come and go every day. I’d seen one like this that said something to the effect of “Do something amazing”, but I like using this phrase even more. Such a good way to walk out the door and start your day!

a touch of paint…

…can make a nice little difference!

I busted out my brushes and acrylics recently for a few tiny projects I’ve had on my to-do list for a while. Nothing major here, but I’ve been wanting to add a little personality to some of these items around the house.

First up, the lamp in the guest room. I had scored the base for a mere $3 on clearance, and added a shade from Target. I felt like the chic shade and more country-style base needed some help marrying each other – so I added a couple subtle blocks of grey (our leftover wall paint, actually) which happens to match the shade very closely. I feel like this little change helps the two pieces look like they are actually meant to go together now.

Next, this little green frame in the living room was the perfect shade of green for the scheme I was going for, but was otherwise your basic, rectangular frame. Fine…but not very exciting. I used a little painters tape to add a crisp white border around the edges. At the last minute, I decided I wanted it to look a little messy (kind of like a dry brush) so I pulled the tape back off as soon as I put down the brush. It kind of makes me think of the fuzzier-edged ikat designs you see a lot of right now in home decor.

 

(True story…I wrote the above paragraph and then realized I had an ikat bowl in the photo of the guest room!) And yes, I realize this frame is STILL lacking a photo…I really will get on it.

My next project involves a tad more paint and time (and thought!)…I’m planning to paint these three canvases and panel them on the wall in our living room for some inexpensive art. Cross your fingers they turn out!

Building Bookcases: Part 3

After our last Part 2 post, we realized we left you all without one pretty important detail…we messed up! At the end, Page noted that he would need to make a notch into the trim to fit the bottom corner of the cabinet – something he hadn’t thought of. We realized later that same night, it’s because we had forgotten to put down two more 2x4s flat on top of the bases…this was how we were going to achieve the exact same height as our trim, allowing the cabinets to clear the 5 ” baseboards.

So, whoops – our bad! This is what happens when you plan out a project, then wait a month to actually begin it…and then only make progress once a week. Things slip your mind.

ANYWAY…here are the bases with the additional 2x4s in place…see how nicely the cabinet sits just above the trim now? It might take us a minute to mentally catch up, but we’ve got it under control now, hopefully. 🙂

A good chunk of the work this weekend was getting the second hole cut in the floors and the second base in place. Next, it was time to move all the cabinets upstairs – for good this time!

Although they’re awfully close, they don’t line up PERFECTLY (you can only expect so much from a pre-made cabinet), so the next step will be to add shims to fill in any micro gaps and get everything perfectly flush from all angles, before we add the “countertop” piece to the tops and continue on to the shelving.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…first things first. We need these bad boys to have some power when they’re all done…literally. Rather than actually move the outlets that are currently on either side (right smack in the middle of each set of cabinets), we decided to keep them where they are. Page removed the faceplates, and took measurements along the wall…

…which he then penciled in on the backsides of the cabinets. We were sick of the vacuum sessions by this point (gotta love building in the middle of your only living space), so we hauled ’em onto the deck where Page cut out the outlet holes in each set.

 

…and added a little time capsule-esque artwork to the backs in case anyone is ever crazy enough to pull these out someday (oh, the thought just makes my heart hurt!)

PS…I take it as a good sign that this far into my vision of a project, he still “hearts” me. 🙂

It was getting dark by this point, but you get the idea…

Then back inside they went…

Once the countertop piece is cut and in place, Page will drill through both it and the top of the cabinets to make a hidden spot in the back through which to feed any cords.

And while the backs of the cabinets are too thick to screw the face plates back on, we are debating on whether to forego them altogether (really? who’s going to look in the backs of our cabinets once they’re full of stuff?) or maybe glue the face plate in place, sans the screws, to give it a bit more finished look.

For now though, we have outlet-exposing cabinets in place on both sides of the room. Page seems to think it gets easier (and more fun) from here on out…you know we’ll keep you posted!

[Note: You can read ALL of the “Building Bookcases” post series here!]

master poet, master bedroom.

I meant to get this up the very next night after working on our front entry rap lyric decal. As luck would have it though, I did something to my shoulder and it’s just now feeling back to normal. In the meantime, there isn’t much that Page can’t do (handyman that he is) but adhering anything in the permanent/precise placement category (decals, wallpaper, etc) sends him running. So this quote sat patiently on my dresser for a few days until now, when I finally got to hanging it.

I like the more subtle white font on the light grey wall – and of course love what it says. I played around when I was designing it to figure out where to put Hugo’s name, but couldn’t figure out an arrangement that I liked. I do have some much smaller rub-on letters in white (leftover from my scrapbooking days!) and I think I will just put his name, small, under the final word in the line.

My mom has this same Victor Hugo quote in the guest room at home…

…and Page mentioned it when I brought up using a quote in our room. I love the calligraphic treatment she did hers in. So many font options!

So thank you, Mom, for letting us borrow your idea 😉 And again, a huge thanks to Danielle at Urban Walls for another amazing print job!

rapper’s delight

Page and I had long planned on putting a cool quote in the front entry to greet guests coming through the front door. We also liked that it would be in a spot we, ourselves, would pass by each day. But to be placed center stage, the quote had to be a really good one; nothing cliche, and nothing we’d get bored with quickly. Page originally joked that we should put up a Notorious B.I.G. quote…he was totally kidding. (For anyone not familiar, B.I.G. was a progressive and well-respected rap artist who was killed in the late ’90s.)

After narrowing down the list of phrases that would fit this space, I stumbled upon this site – every day, the author of this blog posts a song lyric submitted by a reader. I combed through the archives for any last contenders for the space and couldn’t believe it when of ALL artists, the lyric that resonated with me most was this one…and it was by none other than Mr. Smalls, himself. I love the words because they encompass so much of how Page and I try to live our lives, but even more because of the source – totally unexpected and quirky to have rap on your suburban wall. 🙂

I worked with a fabulous Etsy artistan to bring this to life. I had seen her amazing wall decals before and contacted her about designing this one myself and paying her to print it for me. Danielle is super nice to work with and I am so impressed with the quality of her products. Because of the uber-thin font I chose for this one, I had to be very patient and meticulous (a stretch for me – it took me over a half hour to get it all applied!) but in the end, I think it’s the thin font that gives it the perfect amount of blending and standing out, all at once. It looks black in photos but is actually the dark charcoal color – perfect on top of our light grey walls. I knew I had to contend with the light switch on the left side of the wall, so I right-justified the font to avoid the switch altogether. I love the way it lines up with the edge of the wall coming around the corner. I initially thought I’d make this much bigger, but something was telling me to restrain a bit and not go too scary-big. I also originally laid the quote out with all of the punctuation, including putting the last line in quotation marks, but decided it was too distracting. In the end, I’m so happy I went with my gut on those two things – always helpful to lay something out, then walk away for a bit and re-visit it later with a fresh set of eyes.

I think Page was floored that I actually got on board with using lines from a hip hop song, but if I’ve learned anything while pulling our first home together, it’s to take some risks…and this one totally paid off!

Building Bookcases: Part 2

When we last left off, we had purchased all of our materials, figured all of our measurements, built some bases, and puttied, sanded, and primed the cabinets.

The next step was to fit the bases into the living room. This was the scariest part, since it involved cutting into our brand new floors and trim. The flooring on our first level is floating, meaning it literally “floats” over the floor boards underneath. To put too much weight in any one area, over time, would cause the flooring to warp. This meant that with something like a built-in bookcase, that would be in place for the long haul (long after we’ve moved out), we needed to cut the wood flooring and place the supportive bases directly on the floor boards beneath.

To do this, Page first set base #1 in the corner where bookcase #1 will go, but above the existing trim. This way, he could mark exactly where to cut into the existing trim and pry it away from the wall.

He used his Dremel tool (invaluable tool for any guy!) to cut the trim.

Next, we set the base back in to be sure it fit (and it did, like a glove!) inside the existing trim. Next it was time to mark the floors. Using a putty knife, Page etched his cut line right into the floors, using the base in place as his template.

Page requested to not be “in” many of these pictures, but I couldn’t resist this happy grin. Before cutting into our ACTUAL floors, he set up a “test run” in the basement with a spare piece of our flooring and a 2×4 underneath to act as the actual floor board. The key here was to cut through the piece of flooring and the pad that is attached to it (this may vary depending on what kind of flooring you have), but NOT cut into the actual floor board. Kudos to this dude who got it perfect on the first try! Now on to the actual floors…

As you can see, it got pretty dusty, very quickly. Note to self – score myself a set of eyewear for the next bookcase – that dust make your eyes water!

Page did the length of the floor cutting with his circular saw, but for the 12 ” cut on the side, the saw was too big for the small space, so he cut it with the Dremel tool.

Boom, baby!

I’m not kidding when I say Page is a perfectionist – and it shows here – that base fit PERFECTLY within the cut flooring.

 

Even with the snug fit, the final step was to screw the bases into the walls for extra support.

Now, he just has to repeat all of this on the other side for bookcase #2!

Between running between the living room and the basement to get pictures of all the above steps, I gave the cabinets and doors two coats of paint. I had already sanded the cabinets with an electric sander, and applied two coats of primer. Before beginning to paint today, I took a fine grit sanding sponge to the primed surface, then rolled on two coats of the actual paint with a foam roller, touching up corners and edges with a foam brush.

As soon as the doors are dry, we will drill holes to add the hardware I scored for a song at Target. Always the impatient one, I set it on top for a quick photo to get the idea. I also (carefully) hauled one of the cabinet frames upstairs to get a feel for the height with the base again. We just have to add trim to cover the unfinished base and that will blend much more smoothly with the cabinets.

It was at this point Page pointed out that he would need to notch the existing trim on the side wall, so that the cabinet can fit flush up against the wall. It’s the little things you figure out as you go!

Excited to see how this is coming together! We plan to share all of our measurements and a run-down of all materials for anyone who wants to DIY this same project in their home.

Back soon with part 3!

[Note: You can read ALL of the “Building Bookcases” post series here!]

meal planning (and a free download!)

Thanks so much for stopping by if you are a new visitor coming from Pinterest. If you’re on the hunt for more organization posts (including more free printables for gift planning and babysitter notes), you will find them here!

Meal Planning | www.lifeinyellow.com
When it comes to meal planning in our house, I have the best of intentions…but don’t always see my plans through. I enjoy cooking, and we like to save money and calories, so eating at home most days of the week is normal for us and eating out is more of a treat.

Some nights, dinners are better thought out, and some consist of, “There’s a packet of ramen in the pantry, help yourself!” No matter the complexity of the meal, they all require ingredients, which requires the occasional trek to the grocery store. I am a HUGE fan of going to the store with a list…not so much because I stick to it, but because I can ensure I’m not making any more trips than I have to for forgotten items.

In the past, I’ve tried a variety of those super-organized grocery list pads. A couple of my favorites have been this one from Real Simple for Target:

And this one, from Knock Knock:

Both are super functional in that they are organized by section of the store. But for me, I don’t need my grocery list to just help me during my store visit, I want it to help me all week long so I can remember what I bought, and for which recipe. I can have the most carefully-crafted list going to the store and come home with everything on it, only to be at home three days later wondering what the heck I bought the can of pineapple chunks for. (I finally remembered two days later, it was for a stir fry.)

Even with the hippest note pads at my disposal, I found myself still reaching for scratch paper to list out what I wanted to make each night, and then planning my ingredients in “mini lists” according to my plan. It finally dawned on me today to template this and make it easier on myself…and share with all of you! It’s no rocket science, but if you plan your list like I do (by meals and not by store zones), it will hopefully make your life a teensy bit easier…

Meal Planning Printable | www.lifeinyellow.comI print this out and use it to make my meal plan and lists, take it to the store, then I hang it on my fridge once I get home. Don’t throw it away like you would a normal list. This way, I have a list of “oh yeah, I was going to make that” meals across the top…or a menu of options for the week, if you will, that I know I have the stuff on hand to make. I don’t specify days of the week for particular recipes – we just make what we’re in the mood for each night.

Meal Planning | www.lifeinyellow.com

As for other random items not pertaining to any specific recipe, I still have space at the bottom to list them like I would on a normal list. And why only four boxes across the top (instead of 5, or even 7?)…because we are never opposed to the occasional pizza ordering or leftover extravaganza…it’s rare we’d make a new meal every single night. But if you are the rare breed who does, you can print more than one copy, as needed…because I’m sharing this list with all of you for your own use!

Download the list by clicking Meals and print copies as you need them, and fill them out.

Happy meal planning, shopping, and most of all enjoying!

farewell, facebook: the half-way point

For Lent this year, I gave up Facebook. Me, the crack addict of the social media site.

As it turns out, I’m really not missing it! The first couple days were laced with some withdrawal (something funny would happen and I’d want to update my status) but in all, it’s been a really good thing that has helped me turn my attention to other things.

In a perhaps quite contradictory move, I used the last couple of weeks to familiarize myself with Twitter and have been updating my page almost daily with a quick photo or thought. I get my “status update” indulgence without then spending the next hour reading through a zillion other things, and I just like that I’ve learned how to use something new. Truth be told, I have been on Facebook for a couple quick things in the past weeks. Like when a friend of ours gave birth to her daughter and the only place I could access a photo of her was through the site…I was not about to miss that!

I’ve also made a point to spend more “in person” time with people. It began with hosting my second annual Oscar party the week after going cold turkey, and then to dinner with another couple (during which I did take some heat for my little experiment! ha!). Page had been working nearly round the clock on a special project, so the last week has been about getting caught up on time with him as well as tackling some projects we’ve been meaning to get a move on, like our built-in bookcases. I’m looking forward to catching up with my book club girls next week, and I’m making a point to make phone dates happen with my long-distance bestie and my mom. Between house projects, getting to the gym, and staying caught up with everyone, I’ve found no time to miss that blue and white temptation. 🙂

Did anyone else give up something for Lent? How’s it working out for you?