Tuesday, January 31, 2012

and the desk goes red...

First off, this project took me much longer than it should have to complete.  That isn't necessarily because it was difficult, I just never really made the time to "get er done." 

I started with this desk...

My parents got it for me several years ago from an antique shop, and although I LOVED it the way that it was, it took quite a beating in the move.

The color was also not working well with the beige walls, so it was time for a change.

I sanded down the top...

Andy clearly wanted an action shot here.

I also used a detail sander for the awkward little parts on the desk.

I primed...

I then added Floetrol for the first time to my red paint before painting.  LOVE this stuff.  It slows drying time considerably, but it allowed me to catch drips and smudges before they dried.  I ended up with a much smoother finish with this stuff.

And freshly painted...

But, I can't ever leave well enough alone, so I added a little stain to the detail work and edges to "age" the paint a bit.

VERY subtle, I know.

I also changed out the old wooden knob for a simple rubbed bronze one.

The color definitely comes off orange-ish here, but it's really not in real life.

So there you have it.  The story about how the desk went red.

We have also painted our first guest bedroom and my mom is set to add curtains to the room tomorrow.  Updates to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

pretty pictures

Where did the week go?  No, really.  I figured I had posted a day or so ago, but it seems it was on Monday.  Oops.  Busy week. 

I simply don't have the energy to get off of the couch to go snap pictures of my nearly-completed desk (no, it's still not finished), so I thought I'd steal some pictures from good ole Pinterest that have caught my eye lately...

Love this bathroom.  Kind of rustic...

LOVE the pops of red with those rich floors and walls...

The picture ledges are awesome, and the darker walls and curtains make the room feel so cozy...

I've had this pinned for a while and Andy and I both love it.  Ideas for a future playroom!

Monday, January 23, 2012

LiViNg RoOm ChAnGeS...

I think I promised better pictures of the newly painted living room columns, but I'm not sure that it ever happened.  I also changed out the badly spray-painted curtain rod in the living room for a black one (as I should have done all along).  Here are the updated pics...

Subtle changes, no doubt.  But changes all the same.

In other news, Andy finished his second side table, and I've almost finished the paint treatment on my desk.  I might have also started painting the first bedroom in our house--killing the beige one room at a time, right?  Updates to come!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Let's hear it for the boy...

So, not only can Andy blog about money matters and draining water heaters, he can also use power tools!  He gave his new saws a go this past weekend, and I am SO proud of the results. 

No, really.  I think I need to have more faith in this boy--he totally pulled it off.  After he finished, I kept saying, "Andy, it's a real table."  I mean, I was just so thrilled that his very first project looked so legit.  Andy would be the first to tell you that "this" or "that" is not just perfect in the table design, but I absolutely think he did a bang-up job.  He is the most humble person I've ever met (which is what I love about him), and will likely be petrified that I've posted all of this about his first go with furniture making.  But I am determined to convince this boy that he is very crafty and me likey.  Before this is all over, I'm making him sign the bottom of this table just for kicks--watch me. 



Love the paneled top...

For those interested, he used an Ana White plan (we had heard so many good things about her building plans--she didn't disappoint!) that basically copied this Pottery Barn table:

Now, I have the job of deciding on a stain for the table.  I think I'm going to try out some different stain options on his scrap wood before I mess with his first wooden creation.  I'm also going to try out a paste wax (for the first time) to seal it, and will let you know how that works out.  Until then, I'll just be looking for other pieces I can talk Handy Andy into making me (after he creates the twin to this table, of course).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Money Matters

Many people use the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to make changes in different areas of their lives.  We set goals to eat better, get in shape, and spend more time with family and friends.
During the past few weeks, Meghan and I have taken the time to reflect on our financial situation.  We looked back at 2011 and how blessed we were, but also looked forward to 2012 and to how we could continue to make the best use of the resources we have been given.  In this post, we want to give a little insight to how we have approached our finances in case anyone might be looking for some ideas to tweak the way they approach money.
First of all, let me say that I have always been a little tight with money.  Growing up, I can remember stuffing birthday money in small boxes under my bed and calculating just how many hours of mowing grass it would take to buy something I had my eye on.  After I started out on my own, my friends and I tried to pile as many guys in a 3-bedroom house as possible to save money on rent.  I also took advantage of free public transportation to and from work to save on gas.
Since Meghan and I have been married, we have attempted to be purposeful with the way we use our money.  Neither of us were ever been really big spenders before marriage, but we had heard for most of our lives just how contentious money matters could be.  Knowing this, we sought to come up with a mechanism to track our spending and savings in a way that would be responsible.  Realizing that the money we have is a blessing from God, but is also finite for most of us, we have a few simple tips below that might get you to thinking about your finances.
Have a goal.  One of the things that I have never really been good at is having a plan with money.  I have just tried to save as much as I could, but could not tell you for what purpose.  Meghan taught me the importance of having a goal and sticking to it.
Our first big purchase actually came shortly before we were married.  We both recognized that the vehicle I was driving was hanging on by a fraying thread and would need to be replaced soon.  So we planned for a bit and set out to buy a gently used vehicle that was more reliable.  Since then, we have learned the value of having a goal – from home renovations to a new home purchase.
Your goal may be simple.  It could be just to put a little aside in your retirement fund or buy a new couch for your living room.  Or it may be a big life change – planning for a new baby or taking a once in a lifetime trip.  Whatever it is, jot your goals down and be sure to reflect on them regularly.
Take time to budget and track your progress.  We created a budget when we were first married, realizing it would certainly be a moving target.  We tried things in the beginning and had no idea if it would work for us or not.  During the past two years, our budgeting has evolved to a point where we feel pretty comfortable with our approach.  Yes, it takes time and can probably be a little frustrating, but we know exactly where our money is going.  We use Excel mostly, but there are other programs that you can get for free to help you manage your spending.  There are some simple Excel templates that you could try out, or you could use some free online tools that were created just for this purpose, such as Mint and MoneyWell.  Find a tool that works best for you.
And don’t fret if you have a month or two that doesn’t go exactly as planned.  There will be unexpected costs that come up from time to time.  The key is to stick with it and modify it as you learn more about your spending habits.
Learn from others.  There are so many resources that can help you improve your fiscal fitness.  A blog I read from time to time, Get Rich Slowly, offers many good lessons from people who have struggled in their past, but who have figured out how to get over the hump.  There are also many sites that provide guidance on DIY projects and saving money in different areas of your life.  And although money discussions can be sensitive around associates, you can learn some good lessons from family and friends and different approaches they take.
Talk about it.  Meghan might argue that we do too much of this, but we have become better over the past two years of trying to discuss where we spend our money.  Let’s face it – there are things I want to spend money on that she just doesn’t (and will never) understand, and vice versa.  But we would both agree that discussions about purchases are easier when we are at least reading from the same book.  Discussing finances is not always easy, but we have found that doing so makes it much easier to reach the goals we have set together.
We realize that we are certainly not personal finance experts and have only a limited amount of experience with money.  We have only been married a short period of time, have never paid off a house, and have never sent the first child to college.  We will most certainly continue to change our spending habits over time.  We are still learning about each other first and foremost, but we realize that there are a lot of things in our future that will be a little easier to tackle with planning today. 
So wherever you are in your life – just starting out, trying to figure out a life with kids, or knocking on retirement’s door – it’s probably not a bad idea to give yourself a financial check up.  We can always make improvements, and there’s still a lot to learn.  For any of you out there who might have any recommendations for others, we'd love to hear them.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finishing up the columns...

As some of you may know, when I painted the dining room columns a while back, I neglected to also paint the last two kitchen columns.  I was SO tired of white paint that I just couldn't make myself do it.

Enter Snow Day...

Better pictures to come when I determine if I am really done painting (this is why you still see the couch covered and such).  I always need to see the paint in various lights to discover any streaking/shadowing that I need to correct.  More to come!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reasonable Rug...

First off, I LOVE SNOW DAYS.  Just had to get that out.  The Dunkmeister and I are getting so many things done.  He's been to potty twice, eaten his breakfast, and laid on the couch all morning.  It's a rough life, but someone has got to live it.  Me?  I've slept in, watched Live with Kelly, started laundry and the dishwasher, and received some decorating advice from the Mom-ster over the phone.  Again, a rough life.

I do have plans to paint a little something today, as well, and I will be sure to update if I get it done.  A snow day wouldn't be the same without a paint brush.

But that's not really what this post is all about...

I added a little something to the foyer...

Can you see it?

Yep, there it is.  I added a really cheap rug in front of the new black piece.

I know we've all seen it.  Who hasn't spotted this rug at Urban Outfitters?

For a long time I have had my heart set on this one from West Elm.  But when I realized the price difference between the two would be somewhere around 70 dollars (ouch), I decided to save a few bucks.

I also found a 20% discount online, so this 3x5 rug cost me 31 buckaroos.  Let's just say this might be Andy's new favorite rug.

So, that's it.  The reasonable rug that adds a little pop in the foyer.  Stay tuned for a guest post from none other than The Andy Bozeman.  I've asked him put his money-managing ways into words for you, so he'll be back with some budget ideas for everyone in this new year.