Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm not organized enough...

Written by Shannon Leigh

to send out Christmas cards so....

I hope your celebration of Jesus' birth was joyous.
The Andersons

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guest Room Completed!

Written by Shannon Leigh

Oh this poor room has been through so many darn transformations. It probably has QUITE the identity crisis.

It was once my wonderful, lovely and perfect craft room but when the Rubster came along it became the craft room/cram-a-bed in because there's nowhere else to put it room.

By a random turn of events we acquired a second queen sized bed. Technically we are "borrowing" the bed but until my sister has room for it (or has a little girl) it will be extremely happy here.

The bed itself was actually our bed that Matt's parents gave us. We upholstered the headboard to match our old bedding. Since the borrowed bed now resides in our room we moved our bed frame to the guest room- confused?
Well anyway, we reupholstered it with brown to match the new bedding and paint in the guest room.
The paint turned out EXACTLY like I wanted. I love the color. Totally modern yet comforting.
The bedding I got for a steal on sale at Pottery Barn.
I added some white quilted euro pillows from Bed Bath & Beyond and the gold throw pillows were repurposed from the couch.
The desk and chair have been in there since the beginning...
I felt like the guest room needed a mirror so I dug out this one from the coat closet.

After we got married I was rummaging through my parent's house and found this mirror stuffed in a closet somewhere. It was super heavy and it was bevelled. I love bevelled glass. Anyway, I asked my mom if I could have it- it was stuffed in a closet. She said that I could "borrow" it. Well I've had it ever since and I don't really plan on returning it.
I asked if I could paint it and she said "no."
Soooo I refinished it.
I had some stain and polyurethane left over from redoing the red chair in the living room so viola, completely re-done.
I don't think my mom knew that I still had that mirror.
Crap, well I'm not giving it back now!
The little blue box I got at a garage sale for 10 cents.
The white one I THINK I got from target but it's been a super long time ago.
I really enjoy the obnoxiously large (20x20) portrait of Ru. My in-laws are the ones who stay here for the most part so they won't mind.
The floating white shelves are from Menards and have been there for a long time. The glass jars are a mix of vintage, thrifted and new. They house many crafting supplies. They aren't accessed as much as they used to be.
The shelves also hold vintage photo albums and all of my personal and professional files-nicely organized.
These shelves house old family slides, books, various photos, and our wireless printer.
Grandpa Gene as a little boy and Ruby of course! And here are Grandma and Grandad Dudley on their wedding day.
The curtains and curtain rod are both from Lowes- on sale.
The filing cabinet was from Office Max that we got with wedding money after our honeymoon. It was stained cherry so we painted it white.
The lamp was a gift from my sister a few years ago. I still love it and it fits perfectly in here!
The photos are old family slides scanned from 1969.
The top one is the St. Louis airport (then called Lambert Field).
The bottom one is the house that my Dad grew up in and the house that my sister was born in.
This nightstand is ancient! I remember my sister had it when we were little. I'm not really sure how I ended up with it. At one point it was BRIGHT yellow. It has since been painted like 1500 times. It seems happy here.
Look at how ADORABLE my mom is as a baby? Don't you think that Ruby looks like her? I think so.

We are on to re-do the master, we've got new bedding and cans of paint... clearly I am bored with the decor in our house. It's been 3 years people! I need some change. Stay tuned for more:)

New TV Stand

Written by Shannon Leigh

I am considering this piece a semi-success.

I don't LOVE it but I think I sort of like it. There are somethings that I like about it and there are some things I really hate. I will explain.

Here's the before. I forgot to take a picture of it with all of the drawers, but you get the idea. It also had a cabinet on top (you already heard about what an utter failure THAT was).
Here's the after.
Things I like:
-The size
-The storage
-The height
-The hardware

Things I don't like:
- I don't like the color of white I chose... I think it's too white. I wish I would have gone darker.
- I don't HATE the black glaze on it but I'm not crazy about the glaze with the color of white I chose. I feel like it looks dirty instead of "aged." It's my first time glazing... so maybe I should have gone a bit darker?
- I don't LOVE the shape- I tend to like more girly stuff with long legs and curves. This piece is pretty masculine. That being said I think it works well with all of the other girly pieces around the room.

Something I really love is the hardware! This one was a head scratcher at first.
I really liked the shape of the hardware but I didn't really like the color. They were brass and not in great shape. I've spray painted in the past and I haven't been thrilled with the results. So I wanted to try something else.
So I did some research and found out that I could darken real brass to give it that aged look. PERFECT, just what I was looking for.
First I had to see if they were really brass. I did a few tests and had a strong feeling they were in fact brass. I then soaked them in TSP and a laquer thinner.
I then dipped them in brass darkening solution. It's simple! You just soak them until they reach the desired color... I wanted mine almost black so I soaked them for about 7 or 8 minutes. I rinsed and washed them in baking soda to stop the acid and viola- "aged bras."

If you want some of the brass to come through you can steal wool the surface. I chose not to but maybe I'll try that for another project.

Here's the before and after.
Over all the project cost around $175 bucks (not bad considering the one I really want from Pottery Barn is $1700). The piece itself (with the cabinet on top) was $125 at a thrift store. The paint and supplies was about $60 and the brass darkening solution was $15.

I suppose it will do for now.

Now onto the NEXT project.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Martha has my Husband

Written by Shannon Leigh

Apparently my husband loves Martha Stewart.
After 3 1/2 years of marriage this came as a complete shock.

How do I know?
We sat on the couch a few nights ago watching Martha Stewart's Holiday Open House. She made golden bow cookies with Jennifer Garner and turkey egg ornaments with Claire Danes, all while not making a single mess. She then made a holiday cassoulet with like 6 different kinds of meat in a pot the size of my kitchen table. I'm fairly certain that's what sold him.

I told Matt that the show was making me depressed and that he could change the channel. Glued to the TV he said "that's ok, she kind of sucks you in." Thus her multimillion dollar corporation.

Throughout the rest of the show he kept saying "whoa, she really is amazing..."
"How'd she do that?" "She is so good!"

When we went to bed that night he was laying flat on his back, eyes open, staring at the ceiling. I asked him what he was thinking about and his answer? "All I can think about it Martha's holiday Cassoulet."

I am not sure if I should be thrilled by this or utterly mortified.

Thrilled because he really does like creative-do-it-yourself-ers like Martha or mortified because she is the ultimate-do-it-yourself-er and I could never live up to her, especially in the mess department.

If he ever gets frustrated with my crafting I'll just remind him that if he wants me to be like Martha he better step off.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving in pictures

Written by Shannon Leigh


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Newness of Life

Written by Shannon Leigh

Add ImageIMG_3353-1
(Ruby's first encounter with snow. December 4, 2010).

One of my favorite things about being a mother is watching Ruby experience new things.

I'll never forget her full body shiver after her first bite of sweet potatoes...

Everything is new to her, fresh & unblemished. She's not tainted by the world, not bitter, not fearful.
Sometimes I wish I could go back. I wish I could forget the bad and experience things for the first time again. Could you imagine tasting a warm brownie, hot out of the oven, for the first time? Or your first kiss, or your first pedicure (oh my heavens, a pedicure).

Newness is precious and pure, sweet and surprising.

It's also a promise.

"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4

Today I will celebrate the newness of life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just what I needed.

Written by Shannon Leigh

This week has been kind of odd.

I've recently finished up some seriously large projects that have been hanging over my head for months. I think I have a little post-project blues.

I can't really put my finger on what I am feeling exactly. Maybe I'm overwhelmed? I have a list 3 miles long of projects that I could be working on, I just can't find the wants to actually do them.

We set a goal for ourselves that we would have our new/thrift store entertainment center painted and ready to go by Christmas (it's good to set goals). We've had it in the garage for months and now the temperatures are below freezing so I figured we had better bring her in.

So a few nights ago we brought in the top piece, which was the part that I was excited about. This piece was originally a china cabinet so it was going to require some creativity to make it work as a tv cabinet. There were some shelves that needed to be removed - I'd patch some holes, maybe add some decorative wall paper to the back and viola, perfection.
I assumed that it would be simple. WRONG-O!
We worked on those stupid shelves for HOURS to no avail. Matt reminded me that this was a "real" piece of furniture not some cheap piece with pressed wood (even though it was from a thrift store). This stuff was serious. We totally screwed it up and it's no longer usable (cue music- WahWahWah).
GRRR I was so frustrated. Mad, in fact.
I'm kind of a baby when projects don't go my way, clearly.

I was grumbly... plus the house was a mess and we hadn't decorated for Christmas yet.

So yesterday instead of pouting like I wanted to, I cleaned the house from top to bottom and decorated the house with all things Christmas. I vacuumed out the couches, washed the windows and did all of the laundry. I even did the rest of the grocery shopping - bleh, I hate grocery shopping. But it kept my mind off of the utter failure that was the tv cabinet (wahwahwah).
By the end of the day I was feeling better, or distracted, I'm not sure which.

But that is when my gem of a husband surprised me with a trip to the Christmas tree farm. We were all bundled up, Matt in his suit and tie and over coat. Tiny snowflakes danced in the lights that lit up the trees. It was kind of magical. I felt like we were inside a snowglobe.
The tree we picked is just perfect. It's small but perfect (let's be honest, we don't have room for a big tree anyway). It seemed kind of wrong to cut it down. It's the most symmetrical tree I've ever seen. The perfect tree for miss Ruby's first Christmas.

We took our sweet little tree home and put our sweet little Ruby to bed. We then spent our evening trimming the tree and sipping sparking grape juice (from aldi no less) from my Kate Spade goblets we got for our wedding. I couldn't have asked for a better night. Thanks Matty for pulling me out of my funk.

We're still going to work on the tv cabinet this weekend- it will just be considered a tv stand instead. I am excited about all of the toy/book storage it will provide us with. Who knew that babies came with so much stuff?

Here's a few shots of the chair that I re-upholstered.
I think I've got the upholstery bug. I LOVED the class and I don't think I'll look at furniture the same way ever again.
I foresee MANY more project like this one in the future...

Miss Ruby all bundled up for the Christmas tree farm.

Miss Chloe

Written by Shannon Leigh

Check out miss Chloe and her family here.