Sunday, August 28, 2011

They're Fired!

I picked up the finished and fired pottery pieces from last weekend's bachelorette party.

Didn't they turn out great?  I made the soap dispenser near the center, and Ashley made the goblet on the right side.  All of us girls signed the tray in the front as a gift to the beautiful bachelorette.  My personal favorite is probably the spoon rest...or the dog dish...or the pumpkin...I just can't decide!

Have a great week!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bachelorette Party- DIY Style

Sorry we've been MIA again...the start of a new school year and Ashley's wedding festivities kicking up have us oh.ver.whelmed.

Last weekend was Ashley's much anticipated bachlorette party!

I decided that I wanted to be sure to make some things for her myself, since I wanted it to be special.  So, toward the beginning of the summer, I found an awesome idea for a photo tray at I DO Invitations by Michelle.  (I am having a terrible time finding the exact picture, but I will update when I find it.  She does some amazing stuff, so a little time browsing her blog will not be time wasted. :) )

So, I decided to whip up a tray for Ashley as a momento of the girls that were at the first phase of the party.

It was SUPER simple!  I just picked up the tray at Target, printed out some photos, cut them down, and Mod Podge-d them on.

I also decided to make the invitations myself, which I think was my favorite project of all the ones I have on here today.

I also decided to customize one of those adorable Bride/Bachelorette glasses that you can buy at party stores.

I forgot to take a picture after it this one is close.  I just used scrapbooking stickers to spell out "Bride" on the base and covered it with a coat of Mod Podge to keep them from peeling off.  For the "veil," I just used a piece of tulle, tied a ribbon around it, and glued the ribbon to the glass.  Again, super easy!

Aside from the DIY goodies for the bride, a large portion of the party was DIY, as we went to a paint-your-own-pottery place.

We reserved the party room, so we could be together as a group without disturbing others...haha.  We got to bring food and drinks, and it was a great time!  Ashley painted a glass to use at her wedding, and I made a soap dispenser for my kitchen.  Mine didn't quite go according to plan, so I'm looking forward to seeing the final product(s) when I pick them up this weekend.

Overall, we had a great time painting the town...and the pottery!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

If at First you dont Succeed...try again!

Hello to our readers!

    Here is an update on our lives and what we like to call New Recipe Night.  We have been taking turns picking which recipe we would like to try and this weeks recipe was my fiance Matt's choice.  He picked Grill Pizza so we thought we would give it a shot.  We originally tried earlier this week using our brand new gas grill.  However the directions told us to use dough like Pillsbury Pizza Dough and as we placed the dough on the grill it cooked way faster than we expected... resulting in this

We all agreed that it just wasn't going to work for us that night.  Our quote at the first NRN was "if it doesn't taste good we will just make something else"  We made that quote come alive and used the ingredients we already had ready to top the pizza to make salads.  It all ended up working OK by tossing some fresh vegetables together with some chicken we had pre-cooked.  

We just weren't happy with this failed attempt at Grilled pizza so we decided we weren't going to give up, we were going to give it a second try and we did just that.  We brainstormed ideas to avoid the result shown above and figured we would just watch the crust closely and let the grill cool off a little before topping our pizzas and placing them back on to melt the cheese.  

Matt and Amy took care of the grill while I chopped vegetables and cooked chicken in the house. 

The dough turned into a beautifully golden pizza crust and we had success at that point!!
We decided to make BBQ chicken pizza.

  Bar-be-Que sauce base topped with...

   Shredded chicken, vegetables and cheese

    It turned out to be one that we will make again (albeit VERY carefully!)
      Grilled Pizza was a fantastic, paired with a side salad - all 3 of us agree it was definitely a very successful New Recipe Night re-try!

~ Ashley~

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Five Things I LOVE About Running

I am a runner.  If you had told me five (heck, even two) years ago that I would say that, I would call you crazy.  Always an admirer of runners, I decided to give it a shot last March.  Now, I'm addicted.

This morning, while I was out on my run, I was thinking about how I haven't blogged in a week.  I'm admittedly stalling on my current project, because the next thing on my list involves a dreaded can of paint, so I figured I'd blog about something else I love!  :)

So, here, in no particular order, are five things I love about running:

1. Running Buddies

My #1 running buddy and I cooling down after my first 5K.
(wasn't quite prepared for the Internet to see the disheveled mess I was, haha)

My former college roomie has always been a big runner, and I decided to start running with her after I had gotten a few months into my plan.  For awhile, we had a weekly running date, and it was the highlight of many of my weeks.  I always run better with a buddy!

2. Post-Run Smoothies


I was never much of a smoothie drinker until my friend, Kristin, got me to try one of hers.  Sure enough, I went out and bought some protein powder and am having fun trying smoothies.  My current favorite is the Cereal and Berry Shake from Trainer Momma.  At first, it sounded a little weird, but I tried it, and I'm hooked!  I definitely spent a good chunk of my run this morning thinking about the smoothie I was going to make when I got home.  :)

3. Saying "Good morning" to people on the trails

I wish I had a picture of the adorable little girl riding her bike with her family this morning and her super enthusiastic wave after I said good morning.  That moment definitely kept me going for the next couple of minutes.

4. When my mom asks me how my run was and I get to gush about it
Me, my mom, and Ashley at a wedding...obviously not running related.

A lot of times on weekends, my mom will say "How far'd you go today?"  It's fun to share my excitement with someone else, especially on days when I had a good run.

5. Proving to myself that I can do something I never thought I could

Finishing my first 5K and beating my goal time by 21 seconds!

For me, running is incredibly rewarding, because I have proven to myself that I am stronger than I ever thought I was.  Just as this post started, two years ago, I would have never believed you if you had told me I would run a 5K (or three by now).  Running was just something that was too big of a challenge.  Now, I work to constantly compete with myself and prove to myself I can do new things.  In a weird way, running has gotten me through some of the most difficult things I have been through, because it has given me a new kind of confidence I never had before.  No wonder I'm hooked!

Well, now that I have spent my morning running and blogging about it, I should probably shower.

Any runners out there?  What do YOU love about running?

Have a great Sunday!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ashley's Birthday- DIY Extravaganza!

At the beginning of the summer, Ashley's birthday was sneaking up on me.  Sick of getting the same old gifts for her birthday (something bride-related, a book, etc.), I decided to plan something for us to do together to celebrate her special day.  So, I came up with this!

I whipped up this sheet on Publisher and stuck it in her birthday card.  Hopefully Ashley was excited about it, because I was bouncing off the walls!

Ashley decided on these frame trays that she saw on my Pinterest.  So, on one of her days off from work, we ventured out on our super-fun DIY day.

First, we had to find frames that were the right size and shape for what each of us had in mind.  We ended up going with a couple we saw at Michael's.  We totally lucked out, because frames were half off, AND I used my teacher discount!  I think each frame was about $3.50-$5.

After choosing our frames, we picked out some scrapbook paper and ribbon for the inside.  For some reason, I had my mind set on putting a ribbon inside mine, and this really extended the process.

Finally, we headed to Target for handles, and then it was lunch time.  If you know me, you know this is a major priority.  :)

After lunch, it was time to get to work...and it proved to be a little trickier than we thought.

Ashley decided to glue her handles to the frame...only to discover the glue was burning away the finish on the frame.  In the process, she nearly glued her engagement ring to her hand.

Thinking I was avoiding problems, I decided to screw my handles into the frame. After measuring incorrectly (twice), I hit another roadblock--a broken drill bit.

Sorry Matt!

Not the types to be deterred by trouble, we laughed it up and kept plugging away.  In the end, we were happy with the results.

Before the day could be done, I made the birthday girl pose with her masterpiece.

Happy birthday, oh lovely sister of mine!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Recipe Night

Since both of us now have our own kitchen to cook in, we have been trying to think outside the box and step away from cooking the same 'ol dinners night after night.  We both wanted to try new recipes, so we came up with New Recipe night.  We go through recipes until we discover something we would like to try.  Last weeks new recipe night was a Greek dish called Chicken Souvlaki which is a spiced chicken cubed and put onto a skewer to make into a ka-bob.  After some time on the grill, we added a side salad to the meal and voted it a winner, we will make it again. 

This weeks New Recipe night was also a chicken dish but more on the Italian side.  This week we made Crunchy Garlic Chicken.  This was an easy recipe using common ingredients that most people have in their house.  The garlic breading was formed using a food processor crushed saltine crackers, butter, garlic, Parsley (we substituted with Italian seasoning) and a pinch of salt and pepper.  The chicken was coated in all purpose flour and dipped in egg before being breaded with the cracker mix.  We baked the chicken in the oven at 475 for about 15 minutes.    I chopped up my chicken and added it to a salad but it was also good by itself.  Once again a recipe voted a winner and will be made again. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gray-t Night...Amy's First Project

Worst pun ever...haha.  Sorry!

After closing on my house, I waited about a week before I officially moved in.  Before staying in my home, I really wanted to make the master bedroom my own.  For some reason, at any new place I've lived, I spend a good amount of time in the beginning being uncomfortable because I feel like I'm staying in someone else's bedroom.  I really wanted to avoid that this time around and be comfortable from the start.

Plus, I couldn't stand the baby blue on the walls...

My original plan was to paint the master bedroom taupe, but the comforter I ordered online turned out to be much more gray than the tannish color I thought it was in the pictures.  Should have known...seeing as the comforter was called "Malibu Gray."  Way to pay attention to detail, teacher!

So, I browsed a bunch of paint chips and finally decided on Behr's Mineral.  It had just the gray-brown mix I was going for and picked up the color of the darker stripes on my comforter well.

So, I bought a gallon and my lovely, artistic friend Kristin and I got to work!

Good riddance, baby blue!

In an effort to make the whole process move a little more quickly, I decided to forego the primer and just give it two coats (this was definitely against Kristin's suggestion, and you can probably guess where this is going).  We painted at night, and when I got to the house the next morning, the wall picture above looked like it had been sponge painted.  Baby blue showing through like crazy!  Definitely in need of a third coat...

So, my first morning in my new home was spent re-painting my bedroom.  However, the mission was accomplished, and I slept great in a room that I felt was 100% mine!

(Pardon the drying rack...obviously not a permanent fixture in the room.  At least you know my clothes are clean!)
It's been a few months, and I am thrilled with my color choice!  I find it very calm and serene--just what I was looking for in my bedroom.

Obviously, there is plenty of work still to be done in this room.  You can't see it in the picture, but the comforter has these subtle purple pinstripes within the white, so I want to use purple as an accent color in the room (hence the pillows).  To name a few, I plan to:
  • Buy/make a headboard (would love to try one of those awesome DIY upholstered ones I see all over blogland).
  • Get/make some wall art that picks up on the purple I'm looking for in the room.
  • Find some new night stands so I can get rid of my good ol' college cheap furniture.
  • Make a reading corner by the window.
  • Get a console table for the wall next to the closet.
Here is my current dilemma--do I go with black or dark brown?  The current curtains and bench at the foot of the bed are dark brown, but, for some reason, I feel like dark brown is weird with gray walls.  However, the walls definitely have brown undertones, particularly in daylight.  Hmm...any thoughts?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From the Bathroom...To the Wall (Pinterest Challenge)

I am a huge fan of Young House Love and Pinterest, so when I saw The Pinterest Challenge last week, I simply could not resist.  In fact, the challenge is like 90% (OK, maybe more like 9%, I've wanted to do this for ages) of why I made my sister start this blog with me!

After multiple--and I DO mean multiple--scans of my pinboards, I went with this awesome idea, since I'd been eyeing it for ages and saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls for weeks.
So, I got to work on flattening my rolls and cutting them into 1/2" pieces.

From there, I started glueing the corners together to make little flowers.  I used Mod Podge, because I had it laying around.  At first, this was kind of tricky, but I got into the groove of dipping two of them into the glue and then sticking them all together, and it was easy.
I made 24 flowers, as my plan was to make the piece three rows of eight.

After letting the flowers try for an hour and a half or so, I got to work on putting the whole piece together.  This glueing process was a little trickier.  Again, once I got the hang of it, things went quickly.  I just used a foam brush to put a large drop or two on each of the corners I was attaching.  I had to hold for a little longer, but I didn't have many problems.
Again, I let it try for an hour and a half or so, and then it was time for the hardest part--painting.  I wanted it to be a crisp white, but spray painting proved to be much trickier than I thought with all the corners and sides to cover.  After multiple coats, my end product was a little more gray looking than white.  You're welcome for not posting any pictures of the painting process, as my genius self decided to paint on the hottest day of the week at the hottest time of the day.  Not. Pretty.

So, here is the final product up on the wall!
I just put four nails in the wall and hung it on them.  I will probably need to put a nail or two on the bottom corners to get it to hang a little more evenly.  I'm also a little worried about gravity pulling it down, but we'll see how that goes.
As you can see, this wall is very much a work in progress.  I'm thinking I will either accompany what I have with some framed art, either on the sides or above and below.  I also definitely want to give it another coat of paint, either a bright color or a brighter white.  For now, I'm just going to admire it from afar, while I take breaks from pinning a ridiculous amount of stuff to prepare for the Fall Pinterest Challenge!

Make sure to check out these sites for more Pinterest Challenge projects, from the founders: Katie, Emily, Lana, and Sherry.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Ashleys house, from the start...

My house, which is in the same town as Amy's, is new construction rather than pre-existing which means it is an extremely blank slate.  We were using the excuse "we can't paint yet because of nail pops, foundation settling and what happens if we drip paint on the new carpet!"  Well the excuses have gone by the way-side.  We're starting to get teased about our blank walls and stark white.  Time to turn 4 walls into a room, the room with an oven and sink a KITCHEN, to turn the room with a bed into a BEDROOM and to make a bathroom more than just the room where you take a shower every day.  This is what we have to work with... and this is just the beginning of my story.


                                                              Living Room
                                                           Sink side of our kitchen
                                                                 guest room
                                                                master bedroom (incomplete)

                                                                       Guest Bath
                                                               Kitchen Cabinets - pre-completion

So there ya have it!  I didn't get any fun pictures of me on our closing day, I haven't gotten the "best" pictures of the house before but I sure hope to have some pretty amazing after pictures.  Now is the time to welcome you to my story and the beginning stages in the process of turning my house into a home. 

Amy's House...The First Day...

After at least a year of wanting to buy a house and always finding a reason not to, I finally took the leap in April and bought a house...all on my own!  While very scary at times throughout the process, it was extremely exciting!

On my closing day, I was lucky enough that my lovely sister was off work and went with me for moral support.  After the walk-through and a long time at the table signing my life away, I was a home-owner!
The next step on the priority list was, obviously, lunch.  So after stuffing my face with a veggie wrap, it was time for Ashley and I to get to work.  There was, of course, time for an obligatory first picture inside the house.
I'll spare you the details of what became a quite long day of carpet cleaning (big thanks to Ashley and her fiance for the help!) and give you the fun part...the tour!  Well, we'll call this the "before" these pictures were taken when barely anything was in the house and things were looking pretty sterile (if you can call it that after seeing all the cat hair we cleaned out of the carpet from the previous owners...blech).
Laundry room



Dining area

Powder room

Living Room

Guest Bathroom

Guest Bedroom...will be a workout room...I think. the office.

Master Bathroom

Master Bedroom...sorry for the blurry picture.

Stay tuned to see what I've done with the place!