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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grocery Bag Crafts, Part II

Some of you may remember this post about reusing paper grocery bags to make a rustic garland for the holidays.

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Well, last night, my sister-in-law, Brenna, stumbled on another blog with similar ideas.  Brenna thoughtfully sent me the link.  I thought these were too clever not to share.  Sarah Barry, from Spoonful, and her cousin used the holiday bird bags from Publix as unique gift wrapping.  Wouldn’t you just love to open something from under the tree that was wrapped like any of these?

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I know Christmas has come and gone, but maybe we can all use these crafty ideas for other wrapping and decorating projects throughout the year.  Using a grocery bag for anything but groceries is, if you ask me, truly making something from nothing.  I sure do like a free project.

Thanks, Sarah, for allowing me to share your great ideas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mom’s Kitchen Inspiration

I sent my mom a few photos of some beautiful kitchens the other day.  I was hoping that she could review them and find traits she liked from the examples for use in her own kitchen.  There are few things we know already that will probably be elements in her overall design.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  I tried to find pictures with similar characteristics to what I think she is desiring or what I know will probably be design features in her space.  Hopefully, she can draw some inspiration from the photos.

Currently, her kitchen is outfitted in standard builders grade everything in a lovely early 90’s cream--cream formica counter top, cream formica backsplash, cream paint on walls (with the exception of some terrible wall paper on the breakfast nook side), and cream linoleum flooring.

This kitchen renovation will probably be an evolving process over time.  Like most people, my parents’ budget for the project is not endless.  In an effort to save some cash, the oak cabinets will be painted white or cream instead of replaced.  We will take the wall paper down ourselves, and more than likely, paint the kitchen the same color that is already in the den (which is adjacent to the kitchen).  The choice on the floor could go a few different ways.  The cream linoleum could be replaced with some oak hardwood to match what is already in the two rooms that meet the kitchen, or it could be replaced with some kind of natural stone tile (i.e. marble, slate, etc.)  The laundry room and kitchen connect, so the question for the floor choice is whether to put down hardwood in the kitchen and tile in the laundry room (because hardwood in the laundry room just doesn’t seem like a good idea), or to just tile the whole space and forego the hardwood.  Thoughts???

The inspiration photos I sent my mom are below.  I found all but one image on decorpad.com.  The last photo is from House and Home.  I recognize several of the rooms in the photos and know that they were created by some of my favorite interior designers. 

Mom and I would love to have your feedback, thoughts, and recommendations.  What do you like best?  What features do you think will best stand the test of time?

Number 1

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Number 2

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Number 3 (This gold is a similar color to what is already in mom and dad’s den.)

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 Number 4

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Number 5

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Number 6

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Number 7

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Number 8

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Number 9 

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  Number 10

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   Number 11

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Number 12

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Number 13

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Number 14

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Number 15

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kitchen Intervention and The List

My mother experienced an intervention on Christmas Day.  She and my dad have been married for 41 years.  During that time, mom has continued to use some of the same kitchen gadgets that she received as a bride.  Things in her kitchen were really starting to show some wear.

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Over the past few holidays, my goal was to start replacing some of her beloved kitchen gadgets and utensils with new ones.  Her old things had a good run.  41 years is a nice shelf life for almost anything.  Over the last few years, Judd and I, as well as the rest of our family, have begun giving her and my dad a few new items here or there to replace the old ones.  We have given them a stand mixer, a new coffee maker, personalized wooden cutting boards, a new food processor, new frying pans, new bake ware set, etc.

This year my sister-in-law (Laura) and I both got on board and gifted mom new cooking utensils.  So, just after opening presents on Christmas Day, we had a kitchen intervention.  Laura and I (as well as my brother and husband) got together in mom’s kitchen.  We quickly decided what was trash or treasure in her utensil holders and drawers, and we replaced the old with the new.  Mom was a good sport about it, but being the serious southern cook that she is, I could tell she was a little anxious for us to be making such brash decisions.

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The intervention sparked a renewed interest for my mom in renovating her kitchen.  Their house was built in the early 90’s and the kitchen has not changed since it was built.  Renovating the kitchen is something she has put off so many times for various reasons (i.e. getting her doctorate, breast cancer, putting my brother and me through undergrad, our weddings, etc.)  You see, she is a good and generous momma and it’s about time she do something that will bring her joy.

Several years ago, I put together a list of all of the home improvements my parents could make to update their house and improve its value.  It’s a long list, real long.  Maybe now, mom (with my help, of course), can start taking on a task or two at a time.  She had a man come last week to measure their kitchen floor to replace the linoleum with hardwood.  That is a step in the right direction if you ask me.  I think we will start tackling taking down the kitchen wall paper this week.

The list is as follows.  Maybe by posting it, she (and I) will be held more accountable and will be able to accomplish more.  Any of you designers, decorators, real estate professionals, or home renovation enthusiasts out there feel free to share what will be the most bang for her buck or any other ideas you might have.

Ways to Increase the Value of Mom and Dad’s House

· De-clutter whole house

· Install hardwood flooring throughout the first floor

· Take out all linoleum

· Tile bathroom floors

· Install granite/marble counters in kitchen

· Install granite/marble counters or new lavatory units in bathrooms

· Paint kitchen cabinets

· Install a backsplash in kitchen

· Scrape popcorn off upstairs ceilings

· Install recessed lighting throughout

· Paint all rooms neutral coordinating colors

· Update all fixtures (lighting, door knobs, faucets, air vents, etc.)

· Install a new front door

· Hire a deep cleaning maid service 1 or 2 times per year

· Update all ceiling fans

· Upgrade kitchen sink and faucet

· Install garbage disposal

· Look at closet with critical eye and install professional organizers

· Repair or replace broken/worn furniture

· Install tankless water heater

· Upgrade to all stainless energystar appliances

· Paint/clean exterior trim

· Seal and pressure wash back porch and back of house

· Install crown molding throughout

· Clean and professionally organize garage

· See financial planner to find a way to pay for and plan for home improvements (i.e. sell extra car, etc).

· Fix built in ironing board in laundry room

· Install cable jacks in all bedrooms

· Paint shutters an appealing and warm color

· Paint front porch rocking chairs and get/make new cushions

· Get inviting front, back, and side door mats

· Get a new patio umbrella with umbrella lights

· Buy and install plantation blinds

· Buy new den furniture that fits and seats everyone comfortably

· Hang den TV over mantel

· Change light fixtures by front door

· Take down wallpaper in kitchen, ½ bath, and master bath

· Install surround sound speakers in den

· Fix and upholster dining chairs

· Re-upholster or slip cover existing furniture to match new d├ęcor

· Sell brass king size bed

· Purchase new master bedroom furniture

· Trim and clean herb garden

· Remove, replace, reposition??? fish ponds

· Add gravel to edge of driveway for parking court

· Order pane inserts for any windows that need them

· Replace hollow interior doors with solid wood doors

· Replace carpet on staircase and in bedrooms

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Recap

Wow, I have missed you bloglets so much!!! I have been itching to do a post for so long now. A lot has taken place for us since Christmas. My apologies for the blogging hiatus.

Let me summarize how January has been for us so far. We attended our favorite annual New Year’s Eve party. We worked like crazy people to get ahead so that we could take a week off for vacation. We flew to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the BCS National Championship game (in case you haven’t heard our alma mater, Auburn University, played in the game and WON). And, we both caught the flu and are still recovering nearly two weeks later. I think at least one of us had a fever every single day were there. We didn’t let it ruin our trip though. Nothing could have ruined that trip.

Yes, there were some major ups and downs so far for us in January. I hope that it is not a sign of a roller coaster type of year. :)

The rest of this post is a recap in mostly pictures of our trip to Arizona. You can view our full album by clicking here.

Day One: In Old Town Scottsdale we ate some amazing Mexican food at Frank and Lupe’s

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And we checked out “The Fiesta” that was set up as a party spot for football fans in Scottsdale.

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Day Two: Judd and I took a beautiful 2 hour drive to Sedona.

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As the elevation in Sedona increased, we went from red rocks to snowy mountains.

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While in Sedona we ate cactus fries. They were really good.

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We drove up to Airport Road in Sedona to catch a glimpse of the view.

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This was yet another breathtaking view in Sedona.

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While in Sedona and on the way back to Phoenix we saw so many varieties of cacti. I liked these pink ones.

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We pulled over at this lovely establishment to get a few pictures with the saguaro cacti behind the building.

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I’m 5’10’’ so imagine the scale of this cactus. Enormous.

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Then we drove off into the sunset and back to our hotel.

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Day Three: We took a 4.5 hour drive to the Grand Canyon with some special AU friends.

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Have you ever seen a mesa?

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The Colorado River running through the Grand Canyon.

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El Tovar Lodge at the Grand Canyon.

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On our way back to Phoenix we stopped in Bedrock City to visit with the Flintstone’s.

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We drove through some major snow on our way back while passing through Flagstaff.

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Day Four: We saw Auburn quarterback, Cameron Newton’s, Heisman trophy on display in Scottsdale.

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We also saw so many Oregon duck fans dressed in really crazy outfits. There certainly was a difference in what the southern Auburn fans and the northwestern duck fans consider game attire.

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We also attended the Auburn “All In” party that night and ran into a FABulous friend.

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The food at the party wasn’t so great. We decided to make a trip to In-N-Out Burger instead.

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Day Five: We tailgated in Glendale at Westgate and then attended the best game of our lives.

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Judd caught my favorite souvenir of the whole trip at the Under Armour trailer. ROAR.

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The flags in Phoenix were at half mast for the victims of the Tucson shooting that occurred while we were in Arizona. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the victims and their families too.

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We fought our way through the crowd to get into the stadium. To say there were lots of Auburn fans would be an understatement.

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When we made it inside, I got a little emotional about actually being there. I was so proud of Auburn for even making it this far. It was an amazing feeling to be in that stadium.

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The game was a real nail biter.

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But then, Auburn’s kicker, Wes Byrum, kicked a game winning field goal. The tigers won!!!! Judd and I shed some tears of joy over what the win means for our beloved school.

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We’re number one. It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!!!

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Judd and I feel so blessed to have been able to take such a fabulous trip and share in such a special time for our university.

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