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.
TFP TV Mount 1

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 . . .

TFP TV Mount 3

. . . 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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A Little Rearranging

Our living room has gone through quite a few changes since we moved-in in February. We’ve bought a new couch, updated the legs and I made new curtains but I felt like the room was still missing something: enough seating. I left a teaser on my Facebook page last week but we were able to acquire 2 church pews! Now I know what you might be thinking; church pews? Really? But stay with me here. They belong to Phillip’s boss and they’re on what I’m calling permanent loan to our living room. So when I hung the curtains, the room looked liked this:
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As you know, we really want to rebuild our fireplace so we thought we’d go ahead and flip the room to be oriented toward the one-day mantle. We began by clearing out the TV from the back corner. . .

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. . . and flipping the couch around.

TFP Pews 2I was instantly in love! We added 1 pew behind the couch and nestled our candy bar between it and the wall.

TFP Pews 3The 2nd pew went perpendicular to the couch to separate the living space from the dining/reading area.

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I was planning on making a cushion for each pew but I have to admit – they’re really comfortable as is! You can tell that these pews were likely in an auditorium with a slanted floor so now that they’re on level ground the seat back is almost reclining.

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After some more arranging and a little staging, here’s what the final product looks like! What do you think, love it or hate it?

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PS – maybe one day I’ll make an actual curtain for that door and take down that nasty curtain. Maybe. We can only hope.

How Lovely are thy Branches

Our Christmas tree has been up for over a week but I’m just now able to share a few photos with you! As usual, our tree was a group effort and Phillip was pretty ingenious this year. We recently upgraded to a larger tree and so he wasted no time finding a better way to string the lights.

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Yup, that’s right! Lazy Susan to the rescue! Although this may seem a little Clark Griswold-ish it actually worked pretty well. We placed the tree on top of the lazy susan, I sat at the bottom stabilizing and spinning the tree while Phillip added the lights.

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And here’s the finished product!

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Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, we already have wrapped presents under the tree! My favorite part of the tree? Our vintage ornaments and spindle, most of which I stole collected from my grandparents house.

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What’s your favorite Christmas decoration?

Living Room Curtains

Our house is still quite a mess from our marathon of renovations last week but as promised I’ll have an update for you later in the week – the good, the bad and the ugly!

After we traded out our couches, the living room was finally starting to come together. I decided that the next major step would need to be curtains. (These curtains were in the living room but since I painted a few weeks ago, the fabric was just to close to the wall color.) For weeks I’d been buying sample fabrics and pinning them across the window until I visited our local Hancock Fabrics (Abilene’s only real fabric store) and stumbled upon this green and coral print. It was already on clearance for $14.95 and they were having a HUGE sale so I got it for 70% off of that. I bought the entire bolt!

As it turns out, even with the rest of the bolt, I still didn’t have quite enough fabric to cover my large windows. I started to brain storm other ideas and then it hit me, a color block would be perfect! I ordered a few yards of solid colored coral fabric and set to work using this tutorial from Alison at House of Hepworths.

The tutorial was great and gave detailed, step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) on how to press, line and sew curtain panels. Since I had 2 different fabrics, I stitched the pieces together after I ironed each piece but before I started to fold and iron the side seams. If you do this, be sure to iron the seam as well so it will lie flat!

The entire process took me a total of about 4 hours and before you knew it my living room went from looking like this. . .

. . . to this!

Pretty dreamy huh?

PS – Alison also has a great tutorial on how to make cheap curtain rods, which I used as well.

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.

A fresh coat of paint

When I left you last, the view from our front door looked like this: (with the exception of our new couch)

However after a fresh coat of paint, it now looks like this!

Isn’t it just a huge breath of fresh air??

A few months ago Phillip and I stumbled upon two gallons of Behr Premium Plus, Self Priming Interior Eggshell in Polar Drift on clearance for just $7 a piece! I originally thought the color would be more gray but for $14 I couldn’t really walk away empty handed.

My favorite section of the room? Definitely our reading nook with our recently added smoking chair and record player. Doesn’t it just pop??

Here’s a few more for you to drool over.

So now that the walls are painted, I’m onto my next big projects for this room:

  1. A proper entertainment center so I can get my end table and kitchen towel back (classy I know), and
  2. Reupholstering this chair

Any suggestions on a color or fabric?

A Comfy New Couch

A few weeks ago I left a teaser on our Facebook page about some new seating for our living room and so without further adieu, here’s our new sectional!

I’d been scouring Craig’s List for the past 6 months looking for the perfect sectional, unfortunately most of what I found was really over priced or ugly. . . . . or both. We looked at a few furniture stores but as you all know, the Craig’s List King doesn’t like to pay retail.

Finally, at the end of July, I spotted this beauty and I knew it would be coming home with us!

It’s made of cream corduroy and withstood it’s first big test last Sunday – we made it through Life Group with 17+ adults and babies with no stains or spills!

It also came with an arm chair (which still needs to be steam cleaned!).

Now we just need to get rid of our old couches, anybody interested?

Now the only problem is, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want something to drink. . . . . so now I’m off to paint my living room! After all, who ever wanted a cream colored couch and tan colored walls?

Vintage Finds

Over the 4th of July holiday we had the opportunity to visit my mom and Aunt Dell at my Grandad’s house. Since his passing his April, they are now in the process of dividing up his estate, thus we were able to bring home a few gems.

As I mentioned on our Facebook page, this red leather smoking chair now sits next to our book case in the living room reading nook.

We gained this awesome table that’s the first real step towards my dream Eat-in Kitchen.

I can’t wait to DIY this small tray, which will soon get a new coat of paint, along with this desk organizer. The metal ice bucket will need a more intense renovation since most of the lid is rusted, can you believe I found this hidden away in the attic? Last but not least, I picked up this awesome bedspread which I hope to cut down and use for baby blankets.

The item I am most excited however about is this original, all wood suitcase.

The outside needs some pretty serious TLC. . .

. . . .  but the best part? The inside, blue and brown houndstooth, is in nearly mint condition!

Discover any good finds lately?

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??