A year in the making – 1 Year Blogiversary

365 days ago, a dream of mine became a reality.TFP Sign

It started probably a year before that when I stumbled across a blog called House of Hepworths. Who even knew DIY blogs existed? It was the first one I’d ever heard of and I was instantly infatuated with Alison and her amazing DIY skills. I was hooked. I read every post she’d ever written and waited anxiously for new posts to be published (yeah. . . I was kind of a creeper). I began to dream and really think, I could do that!

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At the time we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom duplex whose owner barely let us install a ceiling fan (it had NO ceiling fans. . . in the middle of west Texas. . . . yeah, not smart) so I knew a DIY blog was out of the question as long as we lived there. Time went on and I began to follow other blogs like I Heart Organizing and Primitive and Proper and as the DIY bug grew within me and I worked on small projects around our home.

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In January of 2012 this all changed when, through a series of God sized events, we bought our first home. I was ECSTATIC. Long before we moved my head began to spin with renovation ideas, paint colors and flooring options. (Side Note: I didn’t join Pinterest for a long time because my friend Katie told me it was like my brain on steroids. She was right.) I immediately knew the time had come to launch my very own blog, and that my friends is how it all began.

I was so excited I had probably 2-3 posts written before we moved. That’s right, in two weeks time I packed our entire house, we cleaned our new house, did all the techy stuff that goes along with starting a blog and I wrote several posts. Oh yeah, and we both worked a full time job. Needless to say, we were pumped about this dream coming true.

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Over the past year we’ve learned a lot. A LOT. We’ve learned about working together and communication. We’ve learned that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. We’ve learned that I am a mouse. . . .and I want a cookie. We’ve learned that I have big dreams and can always see the final product where as Phillip never sees the final product and often says things to me like,

“You aren’t finished with that project. . . are you?”

“You want to paint what?”

“Those things don’t match.”

Yet he always loves the result. It’s been an entertaining year of growth and discovery.

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I’ve learned 3 things about myself over the past 12 months;

  • I love to dream up big projects and see them through to completion.
  • I love writing about what I’ve done. I do the staging, shooting and editing. . . .so that I can write.
  • I love that there are people out there whom I’ve never met who actually read the things I write. It never ceases to amaze me.

So to you, faithful reader, thank you. Thank you for reading, dreaming and learning with me. You are the reason that I continue to write so thanks for the encouragement and love.

Speaking of love . . . . wouldn’t you just LOVE to win a new purse?? I thought so.

Daily Tote Giveaway - thefrontpoarch.com

Without further adieu, the winner is. . . .Heather Jernigan!

Heather be sure to check your email for prize details.

 

Here’s to many, many more DIYing years to come!

How to Hide Your TV Cables the Hard Way

Just before Christmas we rearranged our living room but when I wrote that post I left out 1 small detail. . . the whole reason we flipped the layout of this room was to move the TV. You see, one day we’re going to rebuild our fireplace and when we do, the TV is going to be mounted above the mantle.  So like logical people we thought, if we’re going to mount the TV on the wall one day, why not mount it now? And if you’re going to flip your living room so you can mount your TV on the wall you might as well hide the cords while you’re at it! And if you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to want something to drink. . . .

There are LOTS of great tutorials around the blogosphere about mounting your TV and hiding the cords like this one from the Harpster Home and this one from House of Hepworths, so we bought a mount and set to work.
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We’d lined up a vintage dresser to convert into a media console and since we were eventually going to rip the sheet rock out anyway and in the meantime it was going to be covered up by the TV and media console, we cut nice big holes so it would be easier to thread the cords through. Great idea, right?

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So we hung the TV and. . . if you guessed we hung it too high you would be correct! That means that we had to remount the wall bracket, cut another hole in the sheet rock and leave the existing hole somewhat exposed.

Don’t worry, things got much worse after that. Phillip started from the top hole and tried fish a small dowel rod through the wall just to make sure everything was clear and no insulation was in the way. About 2 feet down he hit something that was really hard. No worries we thought, he can probably dislodge whatever is stuck if he comes up through the bottom. He began to fish through from the bottom and about 4 feet up he hit the same something. What could be in our wall that’s really hard and lodged in between 2 studs. . .

I’ll tell you what, a mount for a fireplace mantle that’s what! We actually don’t know that for sure but that’s our best guess. Remember how there used to be a fireplace on this wall? You know, the one we’re going to rebuild with those stones that were in our backyard? Yeah, we determined that when they took the fireplace out they left the mantle mount in case it was ever rebuilt. How thoughtful.

So at this point we had a mounted tv, 3 holes in the wall and no way to hide the cords. (Short of ripping out the sheet rock and removing the mount which we were not about to do!) And then it hit us, what if we built a frame . . .

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. . . and covered it in fabric. . . . TFP TV Mount 5

. . . and cut a hole for the TV mount. . . TFP TV Mount 6

. . . and hung it on the wall behind the media console and it turned out to be the most awesome idea we’ve ever had! Pretty great idea right?? So that’s what we did and today things are looking much improved.

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My parents delivered this dresser to us over Christmas and it’s in line to get some serious love in the next few months.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane. . . when we first moved in (almost a year ago!) our living room looked like this.

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Yeah. . boring. Ugly. Blah! Here’s what it looks like today!

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It’s hard to believe how far this room has come in just 11 months! Last fall we got a new-to-us couch, added new legs, made some custom curtains and painted the walls! Then in December we flipped the layout and added the deacons benches all in one fell swoop.

So there you have it, how to hide your TV cables the hard way. . . anybody else had a similar experience? How you ever started a project that went horribly awry?

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Faux Mantle

In our family, we’ve gone through a lot of change over the past few years when it comes to holiday traditions. Some were forced upon us such as this year when we lost our beloved Grandad which means that for the first time in nearly 3 decades, we won’t be having Christmas in Houston. Others are just a part of growing older and entering into new ages and stages of life but one holiday tradition that remains the same are our stockings. We always have stockings. Every year. Even this year, at the ripe old age of 25 I’ll get a stocking filled with special treats from my mom. And I love it. And I never want it to change.

As you well know by now, if you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to want something to drink. So if you ask me to host Christmas, I’m going have to come up with a festive display for the stockings. Since we haven’t rebuilt our fireplace yet I knew I wanted to create a unique display area thus the idea for a faux mantle was born.

I chose the bar area next to our new eat-in kitchen and set out to create some art that would hang above the half wall. I began with a few skinny twins from our overgrown back yard and set to work.
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Twigs are great but we all know that twigs and glitter are better so I whipped up a concoction of  Elmer’s glue and glitter.

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I used a simple foam brush to liberally apply my glitter glue, can you tell the difference below? The ones on the right are glitter-ized and the ones on the left aren’t. Yet.

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I then grabbed some fishing line and clear thumb tacks from my stash and began to string them up. Can you spot the thumb tack?

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After I hung the first one I was beginning to doubt my plan. This lonely twig doesn’t exactly say Happy Holidays!

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However after I hung a few more and added some pinecones I was beginning to fall in love.

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Now that the top part of the faux mantle was complete, I need to work on how to hang the stockings! I have 2 silver stocking hangers that I got on clearance at Target a few years ago so I decided to put them on a bar and place a small dowel rod between them.

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I did sand down the ends of the dowel so it would fit easily into the hook and then after a few coats of paint, I was left with this beauty.

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I hung a strand of vintage garland that I had and I was nearly done!

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Isn’t it lovely! The only thing I’m missing are the stockings themselves. . . which will come with my mom at Christmas. . . so you’ll have to stay tuned for the final reveal!

For now I’ll leave you with my vintage Elf on the Shelf saying, what holiday tradition do you cherish the most?

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We bought a house!

{Myself, Phillip and our fabulous realtor, Patty}

Yup, it’s official, as of September 7, 2012, Phillip and I (and the bank) own our very first home. Here it is!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you buy this house is February? Isn’t that why you started this blog in the first place?”

For those of you who don’t like to read, here’s the short answer: yes and no

If you like to read, get comfy because you are in for a great story! Here’s the long answer.

Background: Since our graduation from ACU in 2009, Phillip and I had been working vigorously to pay off our student loans. We’d made good progress and were on track to be debt free by June of 2012, which went that we would hopefully be looking to buy a house in the spring of 2013.

In January of 2012, our church participated in what’s known as the Daniel Fast. The concept is like that of any other fast, abstaining from certain foods and seeking God’s heart. We went into this 3-week fast asking God to reveal to us his plan for us in terms of location, specifically asking if we were supposed to be in Abilene long term or if He was calling us to another city. During these 21 days we didn’t really hearing a resounding “Yes” or “No” but the day after we broke the fast things began to fall into place quickly.

The Daniel Fast ended on a Sunday night and Monday afternoon Phillip happened to be in a co-worker’s office explaining how we hoped to be in the market for a house in the coming year. She immediately replied, “Well my family has a house for sale, would you like to buy it?” Phillip was hesitant at first and tried to explain again how we weren’t looking for house right now, how we didn’t have any cash for a down payment, etc. (Side note: this house belonged to the co-worker’s mother-in-law and we had actually been to the estate sale in the fall of 2011.) In a series of unexplainable events, that I can’t accurately remember, Philip came home after work and told me the story, we went to see the house and the family offered to rent it to us for a few months and close by the end of May. We found a real estate agent first thing the next morning made an offer on the home (with a delayed closing) and they accepted!

We moved in the middle of February and things were going great!  We even did some minor repairs and had the home appraised. We were in perfect shape to close by the end of May until one really, really rainy night, we discovered a small hole in our roof as part of our living room ceiling began to sag. The seller graciously agreed to fix to roof but the repairs (as always) took longer than expected and we missed our May 31st deadline. The closing was then set for the middle of June until the family discovered an error on the deed which had to be corrected and like everything else, it just took time. July was looking good until we ran into more legal issues and had to wait for a will to be probated.

So that brings us to today. Today, after months of waiting, after expecting to close and being delayed by situations where we had no control, after patiently waiting for God’s perfect timing, today. . . . we are home owners!

So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Front Poarch!

PS – If you live in Abilene and are looking to buy or sell a home we HIGHLY recommend Senter Realtors and especially our Realtor, Patty Knight.

Punch List – Part 1

Now that you’ve seen our house in it’s current state, I thought I’d share with you my dreams for this home. To avoid picture dumping on you, I’ve split my list into 2 parts. Enjoy!

Front Poarch:

  • 2 white rocking chairs (or one these bad boys)
  • a small patio table
  • a few potted plants
  • update the front door
  • replace the screen door with a storm door

Entryway:

  • refinish telephone table
  • paint the walls (maybe with chalkboard paint?)
  • replace the light fixture

Kitchen:

  • remove wallpaper
  • paint
  • refinish cabinets
  • replace hardware
  • sell the kitchen table
  • built my dream eat-in kitchen
  • refinish wooden chair at recipe nook
  • run a water line for the ice maker
  • replace light over sink
  • replace window covering
  • replace countertops
  • create baking tray slots
  • replace hood

Dining Room:

  • paint
  • purchase & install shelving
  • window treatment

Living Room:

  • paint
  • remove blinds
  • purchase/build an entertainment center
  • replace couches & recliner
  • reupholster reading chair
  • create additional storage for reading nook
  • refinish coffee table
  • uncover fire place
  • make a window treatment for door
  • repair coocoo clock

Back Porch:

  • Hang chalkboard
  • Create storage for grilling supplies
  • Organize outdoor games
  • Work on glass jug display
  • Replace screen door
  • Replace windows

What do you think we should do first??

Hidden Treasure

For me, one big selling point of a home is a fire place. It’s so much more than a visual focal point and I love the idea of gathering with your friends in the winter time to roast marshmallows and watch movies by the fire. When we first looked at our new, layered-stone house, I envision the fireplace would look something like . .. .

TRADITIONAL RUSTIC FAMILY ROOM

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or even something like this. . .

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However much to my dismay, it actually looks like this. . .

WHAT?? No fireplace? We (obviously) knew there was a chimney but when we walked inside there wasn’t a corresponding fireplace! We did a little investigating and as best we can determine here’s what happened, a previous owner (not the owner that we bought from) didn’t want the fire place so they tore out the stone and covered the space with sheet rock. (Again, who would ever do this?!) It was uncovered at one other point (by the owner that we bought from) when the sheet rock was being replaced but the owner didn’t want to hire out someone to do the mason work and so it was covered up . . . again. The good news is that the chimney is fully functioning but then a new delimma arose, how would we ever find stone that matched the nearly 60 year old exterior? And if we can’t find anything that matched, should we even try? Or should we just pick a new facade for our fireplace unveiling? (These are the things that keep me up at night!)

So that brings us to today and the back yard! (Don’t worry, I’ll tie it all together here in a minute.) When we bought the house the yard looked pretty sad. You could tell that the flower beds and been well planted and tended at one point but hadn’t received much attention in the past few years. In addition, nothing got watered last summer (you know, the one where we had 100+ degree weather for over 80 days!) so most of what was left was dead.

I had noticed a few bricks lining what used to be one of the flower beds so a few weeks ago Phillip and I decided to pull up these bricks so we could more easily tear out the dead plants. I was especially excited because I was pretty sure a few of them were Abilene bricks and I’m always excited to own a piece of history!

I began digging in one corner of our yard, hoping to find maybe 15-20 bricks and be done. Instead what I found was 8-10 bricks and then a really long piece of stone.

There are a few pieces of stone scattered around the perimeter of house like this one and so I didn’t think much of it until I dug up another one, and another one. . . .

. . .and another one. . . until I had gone the entire length of one side of our yard and I had a wheel barrow full.

I then noticed a few more stones along another side of the yard so I started to dig some more with Phillip coming behind me to move the stones I’d already dug out.

He also enjoyed showing off his strength.

Phillip posed for this picture and then, in trying to convince me to put it in this post, said, “Your blog can have funny things on it too!” What a cutie.

Anyways, back to the story, I continued to dig and before I knew it, I had dug up stone along all 4 sides of our back yard! There were WAY more stones than I ever expected! Wow, I thought, this looks like enough stone to build a fire place! I then began to look at them more closely and, in total I pulled probably 6-8 stones that were 4-5′ long and the rest were small pieces ranging from 6″ to 18″. Then it hit me, these are the stones that were pulled out of the original fireplace and the previous owner used them to line her flower beds! Yes! There was hidden treasure in our back yard all along!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that we have no way of knowing if these were the actual stones from the fireplace but they seem to be the right size and there definitely are enough to rebuild it!

Right now uncovering and rebuilding the fireplace is still on the ‘someday’ list but I’m confident that one day, someday will come and I’ll have a beautiful stone fireplace!