Dreaming of a Kitchen Reno

Last week I told you that I’ve dreamed up an entire kitchen renovation, which stemmed from a leaky faucet on our kitchen sink. And dreaming is exactly what I’ve been up to. . .

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Ever since I started thinking about going white I’ve been itching to get the paint out and over haul the whole thing.

I’ve been reading tutorials on how to paint your kitchen,

How to paint your kitchen cabinets in 10 easy steps

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 and how to make your own countertops from concrete and recycled glass.

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As well as building custom drawer organizers, under the sink storage and vertical storage for baking sheets.

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You know, as well as new light fixtures, hardware and a backsplash. No biggie.

To say that we hope to accomplish this task soon would be a lie, in fact our greatest hope is to complete it in 2014 so I think slow and steady will win this race. We have plans to break the re-haul down into manageable chunks, the first of which is a trial run on the smallest piece of countertop between the stove and the door to the garage.

Here we go!

I will paint my living room . . . one day . . . I promise . . .

Let’s talk a walk down memory lane shall we??

This was our living room right after we moved in, almost 2 years ago. Tan, tan and plaid = BORING.

2012 House Tour Living RoomWe’ve made LOTS of improvements since then like purchasing a new couch. . .twice, as well as painting the walls a neutral blue color and adding an entertainment center. When last you saw it, the room looked more like this.

House Tour New Couch

. . .and it still looks that way today. I’ve been dreaming of going white but still haven’t quite been able to pull the trigger. So instead, I’ve been buying random paint samples and creating my art on my wall.

Paint Sample OptionsNow here comes the really honest and pathetic part; most of these samples (you know, all 7 of them) have been up. . . SINCE AUGUST.

There it is, I said it.

Hi, my name is Leah and I can’t commit to a paint color.

So, I’ve decided to take a step back and revisit my original inspiration. Behold the peacock feather.

Peacock Color PaletteBeautiful right?

Here’s how I see it in my space.

Living Room Inspiration Board

So not to make any promises or anything but I think it is safe to say that at some point, in 2014, I will paint my living room. . . I hope. . . .

That one time we owned 6 fridges in 18 months

Alternate Title: It’s another day so this is the other story.

So as I alluded to last week, we have somehow managed to own 6 different refrigerators in the span of about 18 months. Trust me, I am fully aware of how ridiculous those words sounds coming out of my mouth.

1.When we moved into this house, it came with this beauty. Probably an 80’s model but in both the fridge and the freezer it had these large metal cooling plates that took up a TON of space so even though it looks to have a normal depth, there wasn’t actually that much space.
TFP 626-202. We swapped it out with this, more current fridge via Craig’s List and it lasted for a good few months. . .until it started to freeze everything in the fridge part no matter what temperature setting you had it on.TFP HT 143. So that brings us to #3 (which I don’t actually have a picture of). When #2 started being ornery, we thought ‘let’s go big with our next fridge and get what we really want, a side-by-side!’ A friend had an extra, white side by side that wasn’t working (but thought it would be easy to repair) so they gave it to us! We were blown away with their generosity but when it came down to it the whole thing needed new seals which totaled a good bit more than we had intended on spending. As luck would have that very day we stumbled across an outdoor used appliance dealer. Yes, in case you’re wondering, outdoor, used and appliance should never be used in the same sentence: red flag! Any hoo, we traded him the side-by-side that needed new seals and the top/bottom that froze everything and picked up #4.

4. Let the record show that I LOVED this fridge and I would have kept it for years. . . except that the ice maker stopped working. Now, if you’re thinking ‘An ice maker? Really? Those are pretty easy to install!’ you would be correct. Except for that a friend of a friend was remodeling their kitchen and wanted to give #5 away. (And yes, we have really great friends!)

PS – We also ripped out those upper cabinets so #4 would fit and have needed those extra inches for every fridge since! (Again, ridiculousness is coming out of my mouth.)TFP Kitchen 17

#5. We were so thankful to have such a nice refrigerator just given to us but I have to admit, stainless steel is not my favorite. It’s too trendy, really hard to keep clean plus all my other appliances are white and I like it that way. Phillip’s company is in the process of moving to a new office space, in which they’ll have a break room with room for a full size fridge. So we said why not buy ours? That’s exactly what happened and the best part was that we were able to purchase #6 for the same price!

House Tour Kitchen

#6. Isn’t she a beaut? She’s just a year old and I can tell you that we got a MAJOR deal from a family that had just moved here from east Texas and bought a house with appliances.Kitchen - September 2013

Fridge #6Nice and pretty and white!

6 fridges in 18  monthsSo there you have it. That’s the story of how we managed to own 6 different refrigerators in 18 months. Here’s hoping this one will last us for many years to come!

 

PS – My brother finally asked this beautiful girl to be his bride and she said yes! They’re getting married in January and I’ve got lots of wedding shower and rehearsal dinner ideas brewing in my head so stay tuned for lots of wedding updates!

Save the Date

SPS: Can you KEEP something organized??

How do you keep a bookcase organized?

Organizing a Bookshelf

Or any other high traffic area.

I mean really, day after day, week after week, how do you keep something organized?

I’m not talking about initially getting everything tidied up or staging something for a great photo either. That’s the thrill of the hunt, removing everything from a shelf, organizing, getting rid of and staging the best stuff. The work to keep it that way? Bor-ing.

One day you wake up and walk by your bookshelf and it looks like this:BookshelfLeaning books of Pisa anyone??

How did this even happen? We’re tidy people, how did all of these book get jumbled up and why hasn’t anyone straightened this monstrosity?

Stacks? Really??

Messy BookshelfSo I’m proposing an experiment. As a part of the Small Project Series, every Friday for the next 6 week I’m going to post a pic of this bookshelf on my Instagram and Facebook page, the good, the bad and the ugly with the hopes that some accountability will help keep it on the looking-presentable train. After all, it one of the most highly trafficked areas of my home, I should be able to keep a little bookshelf organized. Shouldn’t I? I guess we’ll have to see about it.

Here’s the bookshelf as it stands today, not edited, not organized, just exactly as it is with a few minor issues but still looking presentable.

Bookshelf 1st reviewHere we go, we’ll see what happens!

 

PS – I came home from work last week and found this.

Painting FellI guess it’s back to the drawing board. . . here’s the 1st | 2nd | & 3rd attempt I made at hanging this painting. I’ll keep you posted on the 4th.

 

 

Bathroom Update

As most projects go, I have a lot of inspiration in the beginning and am really excited about the ‘reveal’. That is until I get bitten by the next inspiration bug and move onto another project. This is exactly what happened with the guest bath. At the first of the year I had BIG dreams for this space, and even painted a shower curtain and made some art, but did I make that bubble chandelier? Nope. Haven’t even thought about it.

Today I’m here to tell you that I have made a few small updates, here’s what the guest bath is looking like these days.

Bathroom Update 4I finally made myself sit down and reupholster this original-to-the-house vanity stool.

Bathroom Update 1I won’t be posting a tutorial, but the process I used was pretty similar to my recently redone foot stool (or these dining room chairs).

Bathroom Update 2Here’s the finished product and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to do this! Check out this beauty!

Bathroom Update 3On our anniversary getaway a few weeks ago I picked up this shelving unit from Ikea. I’ve been hoping to find a small shelf for several months now and I just kept coming back to this one so we took the plunge and bought it!

When we moved in last year, I quickly figured out that this bathroom was going to need some more storage space. Although the counter is really long, it’s also really narrow which means that after you put a few decorations out guests barely have any room for their toiletries.

Bathroom Update 5And these beauties on top? I purchased them at Hobby Lobby and the ‘upgraded’ them. A tutorial is coming later this week!

DIY Dipped Votives - thefrontpoarch

Have you made any small progress on a big project lately?

Austin, TX Getaway

This weekend we traded in our projects for an anniversary getaway.

Austin Texas TripWe visited the state capitol of Austin, TX, and I took Phillip on his first tour of the capitol building. As luck would have it, the capitol was celebrating its 125th anniversary, so they were giving away free Bluebell on the south lawn!

Texas CapitolWe also ate until our hearts content, Round Rock Donuts, brewery tour at Thirsty Planet and AMAZING German food at Eve’s Cafe in Lampasas on the way home.

Food in Austin, TXAnd of course, what would be a trip to the Austin area without a trip to Ikea?? Here’s a little cart dancing for your pleasure.

 

What did you do last weekend?

Backyard Progress

Remember how I said I was going to work on my back yard last fall?? (And I didn’t) Remember how I also told you it was going to be my spring project? Well, the yard has made a TON of progress but still has a long way to go. Today I thought I’d pop in and share with you the progress so far.

I’ve planted a few herbs that have been alive for more than a week (victory!) Clockwise from the top left they are: Italian basil, red basil, sage, mint and chocolate mint.Backyard Progress 2

We planted a garden! It’s not much to look at but yet but I planted things that fare well in the hot, dry Texas summer. From the right we have: tomatillos and okra, Anaheim and bell peppers, and finally jalapenos.Backyard Progress 3

I also planted some garlic and onions. Leland, our ‘big orange cat’ is very curious about the garden but mainly the sprinkler. He is both intrigued and terrified.

Backyard Progress 4We’ve also gathered a few supplies for the yard most notably of which are some rolls of awesome cedar edging. . . .

Backyard Progress 5 . . . . .and this lovely hammock! (Yes, it’s the garage right now .  .. . I’m working on it!)

Backyard Progress 6Perhaps the greatest transformation in the back yard thus far has been my climbing rose bush. Just to refresh your memory, here’s a picture of it last fall, before we removed the brier bush that was entangled in it.

TFP Yard 4Yuck-o. Here it is today!

Backyard Progress 7If ever in my life I have wanted smell-o-vision it would be right now because man let me tell you, these roses smell great!

Backyard Progress 8How are your spring projects going?

DIY Screen Door Art

Today I have a super fun project to share with you, it’s simple and makes a BIG impact!DIY Pantry Door Art @ thefrontpoarch.com

A few months ago I shared with you how we swapped my pantry for this lovely screen door, which recently got a new coat of paint. Since then, I’ve been dreaming about adding some custom art to it so last week I whipped out my needle and yarn and set to work. Want to make some screen door art of your own??

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Yarn, in a color of your choice
  • Large sewing needle
  • Tape, I used painters tape because it’s what I had on hand
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Optional: needle threader
  • Optional: silver Sharpie

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Start by deciding on what you want your yarn art to say. Since my pantry is adjacent to my eat-in kitchen table, I chose Let’s Eat. Next you’ll want to think about the style and placement of your wording. I chose to use to different ‘fonts’ but wanted the words to be roughly the same width. To accomplish this, I gave my lettering a 2″ buffer on each side and then marked off 2 horizontal lines so that I could keep the text mostly level.

*If you use painters tape like I did, it probably won’t have enough sticky to stay on the entire time. I used my tape as more of a guideline to get started and then free handed it from there.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 2

Thread your needle (I used a needle threader to help me since the yarn is so thick) and tie a strong knot in the end of your yarn. I found that a yard of yarn is about the right amount to work with (when you double it over it will be about 18″) because as you sew in and out of the screen the yarn closest to the needle will begin to fray. In other words, your yarn will likely fray before you can use the entire length of it.

Your first ‘stitch’ needs to start on the back side of your screen, meaning that you’ll pull in through to the front. This will allow you to ‘hide’ the knot on the back.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 3

I recommend starting with your first letter, for me that was L. The first ‘font’ I chose was a block font so I started with the outer layer and then worked my way in, using the ‘rows’ of yarn to create a block effect.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 14

You may find that the tiny squares that make up your screen aren’t exactly what we would call level. Don’t be discouraged by this. Just do the best you can and know that in order for a letter to be straight, you might have to jump from row to row.

Once you’ve finished your fist letter I would suggest stitching your letter last letter, the one that will be furthest to the right. This way you will have 2 ‘bookends’ and will be able to fit your remaining letters in between. It also ensures that you won’t make your letters too big and run out of room at the end.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 5

It took me about an hour to complete the ‘Let’s’ portion and then I moved on to ‘Eat’.

See all those knots hanging over and looking tacky? Don’t worry, we’ll fix those in a little bit.

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Since I chose a scripted ‘font’ for the word Eat I chose to free hand a template onto the screen with a silver sharpie. This made the stitching process a lot quicker since I wasn’t having to stop and figure out what direction I needed to go next.
Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 7

In less than 30 minutes, this baby was done.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 8

Now, back to the ugly knots. Heat your hot glue gun up and move to the back side of your screen.Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 9You want to place a small drop of hot glue on the actual knot of each piece of yarn. Immediately press the knot, glue side down, back in the direction of the yarn. This will keep the knot in place and ensure it isn’t visible form the front. Once all your knots have been glued, go back and trim the extra yarn.

This step will make a HUGE difference! Here are a few before and after shots.

Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 10

See what a difference it makes?Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 11

Finally, step back and admire your handy work, you’ve just created custom art for your screen door!Pantry Door Art thefrontpoarch.com 12

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Does your screen door have to be on your pantry to create custom art? No! You could easily do this on an exterior screen door with a welcome message.

DIY Pantry Door Art @ thefrontpoarch.com

 

How to Throw an Awesome Party

Last Saturday we celebrated being debt free and today I’m here to share 5 awesome party tips!

How to throw an awesome party - thefrontpoarch.com

1. Pick a theme!

Since we were celebrating being debt free we chose a money theme. From the decorations to the food – everything was green!

How to throw a party 9

2. Shop the dollar store.

The first place I go for party inspiration is the dollar store. I always end up purchasing cheap decor and gaining lots of ideas for my theme. For our debt free party I picked up these awesome shades for the kids to play with as well as several bags of coin rolls which I used as filler in large vases.

How to throw a party 43. Make your own decorations.

Use your creativity and get to work! I picked up a few poster boards at the dollar store and made these large, hanging spirals.

How to throw a party 2

4. Use things you already have.

If you’re anything like me, you have lots of items around your home that can be put to good use during a party. As usual, my Fiestaware served food and a few coffee cups doubled as utensil holders. I borrowed 2 large drink dispensers from my mom and reused my placecard holders as food labels.

How to throw a party 5

A few leftover wine bottles quickly became a centerpiece.How to throw a party 8

5. Simplify your menu.

This one is probably the hardest for me. When it comes to the menu, I tend to dream big. . .. wwaaayyyyy bigger than what I can actually accomplish. This time I went with a few simple items; green fruit, green veggies, grilled chicken and pork skewers, chips and green salsas.

How to throw a party 6

6. Have fun!

We tried our hand at a few outdoor games, and had a grand night!

How to throw a party 7

How to throw a party 1

How to throw an awesome party - thefrontpoarch.com

 

DIY Paper Rosette Art

Paper rosettes have been popping up all over the place an I have to say. . . I’m in love!

paper-wheel-wall-rosette-backdrop

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paper rosette tutorial

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I have been inspired and today I’m going to show you how to make your own Paper Rosette Art!
Paper Rosette Art 14

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • 20 – 30 sheet of colorful paper or wallpaper samples
  • cardstock for backing
  • scissors
  • paper cutter
  • hot glue or tape

Paper Rosette Art 1

I used this tutorial for the rosettes, here’s a brief overview. Start with a large rosette so you’ll have an accent or focal point. Begin by cutting a 12″ square piece of paper in half so you have to 6×12″ pieces. Fold the short ends accordion style so you have the longest possible piece.Paper Rosette Art 2

Using your hot glue, attach the piece together in a row. . . .Paper Rosette Art 3. . . . until you have enough for a circle, probably 5-6.

Paper Rosette Art 4Fold the upper edge towards the center,

Paper Rosette Art 5and glue some of the inner folds together so you get a nice, round shape.

Paper Rosette Art 6After about an hour’s work you should have a pile ready to go!

Paper Rosette Art 8Flip them over and cut out the card stock to use as backing. I chose to use my circle cutter but since no one will see this side you could also just cut a square.Paper Rosette Art 7Now you’re ready to assemble this art! I grabbed an old cabinet door from my stash (the same one that made an appearance at Christmas) but you could use anything from a chalkboard to an old window, a dresser drawer or a mirror!

Paper Rosette Art 9

I then grabbed my hot glue gun and just started placing and gluing the rosettes where they looked right. Don’t worry about making it symmetrical  just trust your gut!

Now, in case you were wondering I DID just say that I glued the rosettes to my wall with hot glue. I know, I know. . . .I’m crazy. It works for me and it’s never chipped my paint but it may not work for you. You could use pretty much anything to hang your rosettes, nails, thumb tacks, gaffers tape, etc.Paper Rosette Art 13

In order to create depth I rummaged through my recycle pile and came up with this, an old cap from a face-wash bottle. I glued the lid together and then to the back of my rosette. . . . .

Paper Rosette Art 10

. . . . and then to the wall. See that layering?Paper Rosette Art 11Don’t have an old face-wash bottle lying around? No problem – you could also use the top from a soda or beer bottle, a cork or a piece of thick cardboard.

Paper Rosette Art 12Finish placing your rosettes and you’re done!

Paper Rosette Art 15

Paper Rosette Art 17Paper Rosette Art 16Any trends you’re swooning over this spring?