Summer Fun Activity Board

May 28th, 2013

This weekend I attended a fun and totally girly weekend retreat. We wanted to do a fun craft to get our creative juices flowing, and had recently seen Kelly Brown show off her Summer Fun Trackers on Studio 5 including a pin board with goals for summer activities. We took her idea and ran with it  each creating our own board and customizing them with lots of fun embellishments.

This is us all crafting and having a good time getting our hands dirty:


We used the new MME Rhonna Farrer line – Find your Wings & Fly - and everyone just died over how awesome the papers and especially embellishments were. Love this line – easy to use and so stunning!


Our cork board was 16×20 and we covered it in fabric (stapling the back), and fit twelve 3.5″x5″ squares on the front. It fit perfectly into an empty 16×20 frame.


I cut the “Summer Fun” out on my Silhouette Cameo  using their free studio software, and we used the xyron X to turn all the letters into stickers – it’s the best little tool ever!


Then I totally made the project mine by using all the amazing embellishments – chipboard, brads, washi tape, alpha letters, layered stickers and a few enamel dots.


Add a little twine, and some push pins and this project only took about an hour.


Now all I need to do is actually schedule and accomplish all these fun summer goals AND take pictures to document everything.


And once summer is over, I can pull off all the cards and turn the whole thing into a mini album.  I think it would also be great to tuck in a little journaling card on the back of each card so that every photo/activity has a story as well.


Isn’t that an awesome way to get your summer activities planned and memories recorded? Plus is an adorable decoration in your house all summer long!

Thanks Kelly for the awesome idea!

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The Project House *before* or How we ended up with a project house

May 5th, 2013

I remember showing this picture to Mr. Project before we went and looked at the house. His immediate response was “NO”. No point in even looking at it. Then I told him the price and the square footage, and he was willing to go look at it, but wasn’t overly optimistic…


I don’t think I’ve ever posted my full set of “before” photos for our project house. When we bought this house, we were on a very strict budget but wanted something big enough for our growing family. I was 9 months pregnant, and didn’t want to stay in our tiny apartment, so house hunting we went! Anything in our budget that was “move-in” ready was around 1400 sq feet. Since we work out of our home, that just wasn’t enough space for us. So we had 2 options: buy something small and grow out of it pretty quickly, or buy something larger and put some major work into the renovations. We had never really renovated a house before, but I figured there was a first time for everything. Mr. Project is such a hard worker, I had no doubt in my mind that he could jump in and just do it.


When we found this house, it was in pretty bad shape. No one major negative, but just years and years of neglect. The carpet was 35 years old and the house hadn’t been painted in years and years. Unless you’ve been in a similar home, you can’t imagine how badly 30+ year old carpet smells. We brought friends over to see it before we signed on the dotted line and they ALL thought we were crazy. certifiably nuts.


But I could see the beautiful swan in the whole thing. The floor plan was pretty awesome, the spaces flowed well, and there were 2.5 bathrooms. And the best part – the part that really sold me was this home office space:


It also had a beautiful backyard and was on a big piece of land that was somewhat secluded from the neighbors. That’s something we didn’t see in any of the other (newer) homes we looked at.


When we decided that we were going to go for it and buy it, I knew that we were going to have to renovate every single surface. Nothing that we could *see* would be visible in short order.


I was excited to remove all those dark pine doors, and 3/4″ baseboards. The orange peel walls needed to be re-plastered and smoothed, and the flooring of course all had to go.


New lighting, new kitchen, all new bathrooms and laundry. We had to gut out the whole thing and start from the drywall up.


We did have a few surprises here and there. The entire under-lament (what sits on top of the subfloor, but under the flooring) turned out to be particle board, Mr. Project had to tear out every inch of every crumbling sheet and replace it with a much higher-quality plywood sheeting.

_before10Some of the plumbing was in disrepair and we ended up having a plumber come and replace the majority of the old copper pipes and fittings in the house.


The lighting was also outdated and sparse, so we had an electrician spend a few weeks rewiring and adding some more modern lighting.

_before4But the bones were good, and with enough work we made the house look brand new again.


Every surface updated in some way or another. Think about every surface in your home, and how much work it would be to replace them.

I remember leaning against the wall in the living room that first day and imagining that very process and being terrified of it, but also excited to be the creator of something so massive and wholly ours.


And in the end, I think we did a pretty amazing job. Mr. Project really made it happen, I was mostly a cheerleader – he’ll say visionary, but I couldn’t have imagined anything quite so beautiful unless I knew he could pull it off. _before15

He was there night and day for the 2 months leading into move-in. And then finishing up small projects and a few big ones like the kitchen and laundry in the days and months after we moved in.

I think we’ll be forever changed by this house. It changed our goals and expectations. It made us realize that any goal is achievable with enough effort and a clear vision. It also made us never want to stop creating and making things more beautiful than how we found them. Which is a big reason why we wanted to move on to another project house. We love the adventure of designing a home. (see the after photos)