Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Christmas “Mantel”

Everywhere you look, it’s beginning to look like Christmas.  I got a kind of late start this year.  Well, a little later than I normally do.  My usual M.O. is we (meaning myself, my sister, and my 2 daughters) get up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday and go shopping to get in on all those wonderful deals.  Once we finish shopping, usually around noon or early afternoon I would go home and start the decorating process.  This year really threw me for a loop with the stores opening at midnight instead of their usual 4:00 or 5:00 am.  We didn’t let that discourage us though, no we were some of those crazy fools out at Target at midnight!  I didn’t go to the earlier sales though.  I decided I was boycotting any store that opened earlier than midnight.  I just think it’s unfair to employees to make them give up their Thanksgiving to go to work.  Thus Toys R Us and Wal-mart…you missed me this year!  Actually, I did go to both of those stores, but not until much later in the shopping experience.  But I digress.  So, we started at midnight and we were done around 8:00 am.  But, instead of going home and sleeping or actually getting started on my decorating I went home and just vegged in front of the TV all day and night.  I didn’t start my decorating until Saturday afternoon.  Thus, I’m still not done with everything and usually I would be done with everything by Sunday night.  Oh well, I wanted to show off a few of the things I’ve done so far though.

I am one of those people that doesn’t have a fire place so I don’t have a mantel, but what I do have is a very old upright piano that has served as my mantle for many many years.  I changed a few things up on it this year so I wanted to show it off.  First of all I have a brand new grand baby so we needed to add a new stocking!  Luckily when I bought the stockings we have now I thought ahead and bought 2 extra ones for the first 2 grandchildren.  I figured after that we would probably need all new ones by then anyway.  What I didn’t think ahead about was getting extra stocking holders though when I bought the ones I had…so new stocking holders were a necessity.  Hot Rod couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just get one new one and keep the same old 6 ones that I had….Uh NO!  So, I went to Hobby Lobby the other day and bought these…


I just love the reindeers!  I really like the swirly antlers too.  Here is a picture of the entire “mantle” put together.


The 2 apothecary jars stay on the mantle year round.  I just replace what goes in them each season.  The pine cone “trees” I got at Stein Mart after Christmas last year.  They are really pretty too.  The red and gold trees on either side are Hobby Lobby items.  The sled I got at a garage sale a few years ago for a dollar!  The reindeer pulling the sleigh are also garage sale finds, they were a dollar for both!  The greenery is just some Christmas greenery from Hobby Lobby.  The stockings are also from Hobby Lobby.  Obviously I’m missing the new letter for my sweet sweet Grandbaby.  I’ll be making that soon and get her stocking done.  The only thing I’m not really happy with is the picture above the mantel.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love this picture but I really want a Christmasy picture there.  I’ve been looking online and I just can’t seem to find the perfect one yet.  I think in the meantime I’m going to put a mirror there instead.  So, what do you think of my “mantel”?  Oh, don’t worry, I’m replacing the lights in the apothecary jar on the right today.  That set was burned out when I got them out this year.  Ugh!  Why do lights burn out so bad each year??????  Inquiring minds want to know!

A few close ups…



Stay tuned tomorrow for my dining room table reveal.  It’s super pretty too!

Our Christmas Miracle!!!!!

Our miracle transformation that is.  It is finally done!!!!!  We have been renovating our main hall bathroom for the last few months and it is finally complete.  I’ve been so anxious to share this with you so let’s just get started, shall we?

First of all, once again I screwed up and didn’t get a true before picture.  I remembered to take the first picture AFTER Hot Rod had already demolished the tub and shower surround.  So, you’ll just have to take my word for it, it was AWFUL!  We installed the tub ourselves about 10 years ago and it was a square tub.  The tile surround was a gray (cheap as you can possibly get tile) on 2 sides and then glass bricks on one side.  It sounds pretty, but alas it was not.  The glass bricks were installed by a friend and let’s just be generous and say he didn’t know what he was doing.  They were awful!  We also didn’t know what we were doing when we installed the tile so there was a huge gap between the top of the tub and the bottom of the tile.  It was filled with caulk that got coated in mildew so it was this really ugly black all around the tub.  We did the demo ourselves and this was taken after the demo…


These are the glass bricks that we removed from the end of the tub. 

IMG_3746The next step was to clean up the mess and remove the tub.  This actually went a lot easier than we thought it would.



What was left was a big empty clod of dirt!  After removing the tub we turned it over to the construction crew we hired to do the bulk of the work.  The following pictures were taken as the work progressed.


Our plan was to keep the tile floor and to keep the vanity.  They removed the vanity first to make room for the plumbing work that had to be done.  We went from one sink to dual sinks.



They redid all of the plumbing for the tub and shower.


The new frame for the new tub.


They scraped off the popcorn ceiling and redid the texture on it as well. 


The new tub deck coming together and the new backerboard for the back walls of the tub.



The new wall and ceiling color with the new crown molding.  I LOVE it!!!!  The walls are a slightly darker shade of gray than the ceiling and the trim is all bright white.  The vanity was painted bright white as well.


The new closet doors…and they actually fit and close!  The last ones we had didn’t really fit the space so they wouldn’t close completely. 


Our new granite!  It is a beautiful sparkly black granite.  You can also see the vessel sink we chose and the faucet.  We bought the sinks, the faucets, and even the tub all online for about half the price we could have gotten them all in town.  The tub we got for half price of everywhere else we looked!




Both sinks installed as well as the mirrors and the lights.  I got the mirrors at Hobby Lobby at half price.  The lights came from Lowes. 


The new tile almost done.  We went with the white subway tiles with a black and white checked accent row about eye level.


A close up picture of the new lights above the sinks.


We did the same checked row as a backsplash on the sink counters.


Finally finished!  The tub is installed along with the shower and tub faucet.  I went with the same red accents that I had before.  They still looked good and gave the room the splash of color I wanted and I didn’t have to buy new rugs!  I did buy a new curtain as well as some new towels. 

Behold our new bathroom!!!!!


Just in time for Christmas and my Texas Tech d├ęcor looks great in here. 





So, what do you think?  I’ll be honest, we’ve already tried the jacuzzi tub out and it is AMAZING!  Both of us fit perfectly in it and a hot bubbly jacuzzi is just what the doctor ordered after a long day at work or play. 

So, there is our Christmas miracle transformation.  Total cost of the renovation was about $12K.  Needless to say this is our Christmas present to each other this year.  But, I am very happy with this gift.  One more room done, now on to the next room, the guest room!  I think that will have to wait until after the first of the year before we can begin.  We need to recoup a little from this one first!  At least on the guest room we are doing all of the work ourselves so the costs should be minimal!  (famous last words right?)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life is Messy!

If you have never seen the movie “Parenthood” I urge you to rent it today and watch it.  It is probably one of the best movies ever on parenting and just life in general.  At one point in the movie Steve Martin is complaining about the kids and just life in general and his wife played by Mary Steenburgeon says one of the best things ever “What do you want Gill, guarantees?  Well, you can’t have guarantees.  These are kids.  This is life and LIFE IS MESSY!” 

Lately I’ve been going through an identity crisis of sorts and I’ve found myself flailing.  I haven’t posted here in so long now and the simple truth is I really haven’t done anything worth posting about.  I go to work, I go home, I sit on the couch until I move to the bed and I go to bed.  Not much else is getting done…and boy howdy does it show!  The house is in complete disarray!  All of my wonderful projects and grandiose ideas are just sitting in piles gathering dust and wishing for an industrious go-getter to grab them and finish them.  Unfortunately that has not been me lately.  And, to make matters worse, I am beating myself up over it too.  I KNOW I need to get off the couch.  I KNOW I need to get that plate wall hung.  I KNOW I need to finish up the presents for co-workers and friends for Christmas.  I KNOW I need to figure out what in the heck I’m going to do for Christmas cards.  I KNOW I need to get that damn buffet out of my entry room and refinished and put to use.  But knowing and actually DOING are two entirely different things. 

So, why do we as humans do this?  Why do we let life get in the way of…well…life?  If I had the answer then my plate wall would be done, my TV would be sitting on my beautiful new buffet turned media center, my gifts for co-workers would be done, and my Christmas cards would at least be planned.  Alas, I don’t have the answers.  What I do have though is this blog and today I’m taking the time to write this all out in hopes that if maybe I just put it all in writing it will help me move on and give me the freedom to forgive myself for being the lazy cow I have been and to tell myself, it’s ok.  Life is Messy!

Now get busy lady!  OK, OK…just one more show and I’ll get busy!