Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Breath - Photo Contest

One of our passions around here is photography. I love to take pictures, WB loves to take pictures and now our children are getting into it. I decided to enter the I Heart Face Photography contest this week. It's titled Dramatic B&W.

WB took this photo minutes after our first born arrived into this world. There is so much I could say about this photo. The gloved hands you see were only a couple of the hands that worked on her within minutes of her being born. My room had a team of NICU doctors and nurses calmly awaiting her arrival. Luckily for me, after 17 hours of labor, I was too exhausted to be terribly alarmed. WB was equally clueless, as he had his camera posed and ready to photograph the event. Seconds after this picture was taken she was whisked out of the room under a hood of oxygen. NICU would be her home for the next week.

Since WB is a contributing blogger here at this site I thought I'd share his first glimpse of his first born. His little girl, who turned out to be quite the fighter.

Head over to I Heart Face Photography to see lots of other awesome pictures. And don't forget to sign up for my 18X24 Photo Poster give-away before you leave!

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Give Away- Free Photo Poster Print And A Winner!

I have an awesome March give-away from U-printing for one of my lucky readers. They are giving away:
18x24 Poster Print for One (1) Winner (one of your photos)
Paper Stock: High Gloss or Semi Gloss
Specifications: 1 Business Day Turnaround Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only

I have several of these posters at my house and they are framed and hanging. Everyone comments on how nice they look, so I think you will like them too. It is a wonderful way to showcase your favorite pictures. U-printing not only does poster printing but they do promotional printing as well. So be sure to head over to their site and see all the neat things they have going on.

So all you need to do to enter is leave a comment. For more entries tweet it, facebook it, or link to this post in your blog. Come back each time and tell me what you have done for more entries. The winner will be announced Wednesday, March 31.

Good luck!

*I have to have an e-mail in order to award you the prize:)
And I will be receiving one poster print as well for hosting this give away.

Congrats to Spencer you are the lucky winner!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Painting Is Complete!

Yes, the painting of the cabinets is done for the most part. Tips to anyone who paints their cabinets sand first, sand lightly in between and wait 24 hours between coats to keep it from chipping. Some you just have to learn the hard way I guess.

This my little vanity area before.

Here it is after.

Notice the light fixtures. I like these much better then our old ones and they did not cost that much at Home Depot. I did see some bronze light fixtures I loved, but they cost over twice as much as these. Being frugal minded I blubbered like a baby reluctantly put it back on the shelf. Oh and did you know there are a gazillion different light bulb choices? If you don't believe me go browse the lightbulb aisle in your home improvement store. I started to get a little grumpy at all the choices. WB, being the wonderful husband he is, recognizes my grumpiness sometimes even before I do. Anyway, I just couldn't decide.

WB calmly let me believe it was all up to me until he saw me fast approaching my melting point in which he stepped up to some nice round lightbulbs and said, "I believe these will cast you in a warm glow setting off your red highlights and if it's possible make you look even more stunning then you already are." What? You don't believe men say things like that? Well, those might not have been his exact words, but whatever he said made me melt. And there is my bit of marriage advice. Marry a man who knows how to sweet talk you in the lightbulb aisle.

This was our sink area before.

Here it is after.

Oh, and WB got some inexpensive drawer pulls at the home improvement store. We have painted our cabinet pulls in the past and it has worked nicely. This time the weather outside wasn't so nice and to save time we bought these. The key is to find some that are inexpensive. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars in drawer pulls, but for me these look fine and I'd rather spend that money elsewhere.

Next is the counter tops. We went with granite. We thought about doing our own concrete counter tops, but decided against. Number 1 it would take some time. WB only has the weekends to work and he is in the middle of training for a 150 mile bike ride sooooo time is limited. Number 2 I'm not sure my back would survive carrying a concrete slab up the steps to our bathroom. But there are some ways to save with granite, which I'll share in the next makeover post:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Painting Cabinets

I have to admit I have been in hiding since painting my cabinets. Not because I don't like them, but because I was discouraged. Let me explain. We picked a color. It is not the color WB's dear parents chose, which was a very nice color, just turned out a little too light and orange for our liking. We chose the top color.

I got busy taking down the doors and we started painting. I could have sworn I uttered the words "Shouldn't we sand this?" But WB says he never heard those words leave my mouth. I was probably dreaming this whole episode or something. But after we put on two coats and waited a day I saw some chips where the white paint was showing. I was mortified. Did we just paint all the cabinets for them to slowly chip away? WB wasn't very concerned as he was ready to move on to the floor. Whoa, there cowboy! I am all about being frugal and doing this ourselves but I don't want it to look like, well like I painted it.

Which moves me to lend some marriage advice. Oh come on, you knew I was going to work in some marriage advice somehow. When you begin a project don't just assume the other person knows what they are doing. Sometimes I just get into the "Yes dear" mode and I forget to voice my concerns or ask my husband if he has any. Very easily you can fall into the trap of believing your spouse has done the research when he is thinking you've done the research. And well, then you end up with chipping paint.
So here is the plan. We are going to paint another coat. I read online where it is a good idea to sand between coats very lightly. Also, you should wait several hours before adding the second layer. Ahem, we were a little too anxious to be done and see how it looked and we skipped a few things. But it can be fixed so we are fixing it. Then we will move on to the floor. Which we have picked out, but since this post is rambling on I'll just have to share it tomorrow, along with the cabinets.
Can you offer me any other painting advice, quick before I go start painting again!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bathroom Remodel And More Marriage Advice

Part 1 and 2 of the remodel.

I would love new cabinets and mirrors in my bathroom. I would not love the cost. So since this is a frugal bathroom makeover the plan is to paint the cabinets. I'd love to do some fancy distressing work on them, but when I mentioned this to WB he just looked at me.

He does that a lot. He stares with those gorgeous brown eyes, tilts his head to one side and arches his brows. Like when I wanted to have an "Oscar" themed birthday party for one of my kids and started talking about red carpets, limos and maybe one of those search light thingies to put in the front yard. Yep, I got the look.

Which brings me to the marriage advice part. Never marry a man with big brown eyes that have the ability to stop you mid-sentence with one look. You get all distracted and gooey feeling inside and then before you know it you're riding around on a tractor pregnant. Either that or purchase some of those blinders horses wear. I'm thinking of getting a pair for myself.

Alright, back to the remodel. Here are the colors I narrowed it down to.

Which do you like? I'm thinking the top one.
Now look at this:

This is a fifteen dollar cedar beam WB purchased. We wanted to frame our tub area somehow. We are going for a sort of rustic, old World feel. Anyway, here is what WB did with it.

It has no other purpose than to look nice. I will draw the wood into the decorating of the bathroom when I get to that. But it was fifteen dollars and I feel it adds some depth to the look of the bathroom.
Please weigh in with your color choice and feel free to leave any marriage advice of your own.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Frugal Master Bath-Part 2

Thank you for joining me for my second installment of Frugal Master Bath Makeover 2nd edition. If you missed the first edition be sure to check it out here. I not only give you before pictures, but marriage advice. Yes folks, I like to sprinkle my post with a little bit of everything.

WB got busy tiling our tub.

The tile saw is downstairs and outside so he gets plenty of exercise during this little makeover. I have to tell him that several times a day so he doesn't feel guilty for oversleeping and missing his morning workouts. Tile work is hard work, really! If you've never done it try, you will be aching in places you never knew existed.

I love my new tub and fixtures he found. I've already enjoyed a nice warm, sudsy bubble bath in it. Oh, and I wasn't alone. I'm not sure what you're thinking, but if you are a mother of some little tots you'll understand. Any person in this family who takes a bath knows that if you dare to soak you will be joined by Little One. Doesn't matter if she's already had a bath that day. She loves a good bath.

Okay, the paint. That was my area. Here was my strategy. Go to the paint store. Look at samples. Pick out a few dozen colors. Stand in paint aisle and try to visualize what each would look like on my wall. Practice some yoga moves to help the visualization process. Go back and forth, back and forth until I'd narrowed it down to a couple I liked. Leisurely walk around the store thinking of a few other projects I'd like to do until inspiration struck.

Here's what happened. Went to store. Lost husband in fixtures while I went to paint section with all three kids. Little One decides she is tired and cranky and doesn't want to look at paint. Stand in paint aisle with fussing child while your two oldest children pretend not to know you. Look quickly at a couple hundred colors of paint. Grab the two colors within arms reach that look like they might work. Now carrying grumpy child take the paint samples to the desk to be mixed. Glancing over my shoulder I notice a pretty color demo on some drywall and ask how it was done. Plastic bags, base coat and glaze. Nodding my head I hand paint lady my paint samples and tell her that's what I want to do.
Here is the base coat, a pretty wheat color.

Let me just share what I learned about the plastic bag technique. It is messy, hard to control the amount of paint that goes on the wall, and did I mention MESSY. I painted the toilet area one afternoon while Little One napped and stopped. I wasn't sure of my color choice or my technique. I kept looking at the rest of the bathroom which just had the pretty wheat colored base coat on it and thought I liked that better. We left the paint like that for almost a week. I talked about blending in more colors, muting, being subtle... My husband just stared and nodded. Then one morning he sprung out of bed and declared, "I like it. Do the whole thing?" Long story short I traded the plastic bags for a sea sponge. I was able to control the amount of paint that went up and not so messy. After I sponged the paint on with one hand I had a plastic bag in the other to blot at it. This helped to blend it.

So there it is. Like it or not it is here to stay.

Next up is painting the cabinets. Join me tomorrow as I show you the three paint colors we picked out for that and the floor tiles we finally picked out! Please feel free to give input. I need it:)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Crafty Creations Carnival

Our sweet friend and former neighbor Maddie is hosting a Crafty Creations Carnival over at her blog. You are to post a link to some favorite crafty items that someone else has made. Isn't that a great idea? I thought so. Anyway, some of my favorite creations are from SashaSews. Sweet Sasha was one of my very first blogging friends way back when I started my first blog Eskimo Kisses and Air Hugs. She makes the most adorable stuff with the yummiest of fabrics.
Like this heart basket. I love to organize toys and things around the house in fabric baskets. They don't crack or break, they look pretty, and since they are fabric you don't have to worry about anyone falling and hitting their head on them:) Yes, I have a toddler in my house!
Please go check out her Etsy store where she has everything from Bible book covers to aprons!
If you have a crafty item of someones to share please head over the carnival!
*We're tiling the tub today, so I'll have a Frugal Bathroom make-over post soon.*

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Frugal Master Bath Makeover

Remodeling on a budget?

I'll give you two tips: 1. Marry an amazingly talented guy who can master just about any task he sets his mind too and 2. Do it in steps, so you can save up the money and shop for deals.
Oh, and please, you don't have to marry the above kind of guy to tackle this project, you can do it yourself. But I love to see my man in his work gear and so I'm all for the hubby doing most of the work while I take the pictures.

Okay, I'm getting off track. Anyway, last year WB redid our shower. We had a leak that was causing big problems for our dining room ceiling. My dear father-in-law fixed the ceiling (my MIL obviously also knows my tips on marrying ). But the whole shower pan had to be replaced, which meant tearing up the shower floor which lead me to getting a whole new shower. That's how things work around here, one little thing leads to one big thing and off we go.
Here are some before pictures:

Okay, the wall was green when we bought the house, obviously it used to be this red color. Even with the toilet tank on you could see the red peaking through. Did the person who painted this really just walk away and think no one would notice?

My vanity area
Sink area

Tub area after WB tore off the old tiles.

And here's the plan. We are going to paint the walls first, so we don't have to worry about dripping paint on new tiles or floor. Next is the tub will get retiled to match shower with brand new faucet, yippee. Since WB is also good at soldering pipes he will be replacing the leaky tub valve while we're at it. See those 2 by 4's along the tub. We will be making a little ledge covered in tile. My sweet man thinks I need a place for some candles, bubble bath etc. So we need to add extremely romantic to the above "what kind of guy to marry" list above.

There is a plan to put a cedar beam across ceiling above the tub to frame off that area. Next we'll save up for the floor tiles. No more icky, yucky peeling up laminate floors! Then finally we will replace the counter tops and paint the cabinets. Painting is much cheaper than replacing. Some day I'd love to update the lights and mirrors, but we'll just see how that goes:)

I'll share more pictures tomorrow of the paint job. I was scared, really of my color choice and of my technique, but I'll tell you about all that tomorrow.