Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let There Be Light

Sometimes I'm shocked at how cheesey I am. Other times, like today, I just embrace it and see what happens. This is how things go when Andrew is out of town- I have no one to listen to my really bad jokes. Which means I'm saving them all for you. You can thank Andrew next week when he comes home and I stop.

Anyway... In case you didn't guess, today's post is all about the new lights we just put up or purchased over the weekend.

Let's start with the new lamp in the guest room. We needed something that would shed a little light as people walk in, something that could be plugged into the switch on the wall. I've got an idea for a different lamp to go next to the bed, so nothing too big or flashy.

We're going with an old Hollywood kind of feel in here- and when I say "we" I do mean "me." The guest room is one of the places that isn't very high on Andrew's list. Think lots of black and white, with silvers and grays, and purple accents. Maybe a little sparkle thrown in. Very glitzy, very glamorous.
Enter this little number from Target. It's got the black and white pattern that picks up, without matching, the duvet cover. I'll probably look for a pillow with something close to the lampshade pattern to tie it in a little more.
Ignore the other items on the dresser, I'm still trying to figure out where they go and what I want to do with them. After Target, we made a stop at Pier 1 and found two of these lamps:
Love the simple lines and geometric details. For some reason, this is the only close up I got of them. But you'll be able to see more tomorrow when I post pictures of the new paint in the master bedroom. It looks great!
Then there's the surprise I came home to on Friday. Andrew and Michael had picked up the new light (our replacement) from Z Gallerie and installed it while I was at work! I love it!

It really keeps the kitchen feeling open. The other light was just too low and really blocked off the flow of the room. Plus this one is much more contemporary, and much more our style.

We've got to get hardware for the kitchen cabinets still, and we're planning to go with simple straight lines to mimic the shapes in the fixture. Maybe I'll pick that up this weekend. We'll see.

I'm not sure if I should go to Lowe's alone when I have this many ideas, and this much time to myself in the house.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Going Green Tip: Lower the Water Heater

This week's tip for living a greener life:

Lower the water heater

It consumes tons of energy by heating water even when not in use. By lowering it to 120 degrees, youll save utilities to boot. Save even more by skipping hot settings on your washer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wekend Plan Recap

I had some good plans for the weekend. But what actually got done?

1. Paint the Master Bedroom. Done- and it looks great! Janet (MIL) came over to help, which was awesome. We moved through the room much faster with an extra pair of hands- a pair of hands that did the cutting in around the ceiling no less. The color kept reminding me of a chocolate milkshake. I've got some good pictures that I'll post later this week.

2. Hang the new light in the kitchen. Done. Andrew & Michael had this done on Friday before I got home from work. They also picked up and assembled our bar for the front room. The downstairs is almost finished now. Just one more piece of furniture to look for, and a few pictures to hang.

3. Laundry. Well, not all of it. But I got a start. Again, the laundry will always be there. Spending time with a friend in from our of town was much more important than washing sheets. And more fun.

4. Organize Bookshelf. Not even close. I'll add that to the list of projects to be tackled while Andrew's out of town for work. I'll have 8 days to get a few things done. We'll see if that's enough time.

5. Plan meals for next week. Done. Nothing to formal as far as the plans go, but we stopped at Costco and got some chicken, spinach, tomatoes, ravioli, and a few other things. I'll be set for dinner until the big guy gets home.

6. Organize the rest of the Master Closet. Yeah, this one just wasn't in the cards this weekend. In addition to out of town visits, we had a housewarming party to go to. Again- more important, and more fun. The closet has also been added to the list of things to do while Andrew's gone.

But we did get a few things done this weekend that weren't on the list.
1. We bought lamps for the master bedroom.
2. We bought a lamp for the guest bedroom.
3. We bought a few new Halloween decorations.
4. We bought a caddy for the garden hose.
5. We bought weed killer.

I know, those last two are pretty exciting. It's how we roll.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend Plans

I'm taking this idea from one of the blogs I've added to my Google Reader list- My Happy House. Molly has all kinds of great ideas for keeping your house organized and clean by doing a little bit at a time every day. I'm just getting started to go through what's involved in her Happy House Challenge, so we'll see how that turns out.

One of the things she does that I like is post a list of everything she plans to accomplish over the weekend. Then on Monday's she'll take a look at the list and follow up with what actually got done. So here's my list for what I'd like to get done this weekend.

1. Paint the Master Bedroom. We might be able to enlist some help with this on Saturday. Fingers are crossed! It's not a project we couldn't do on our own, but I'm always interested in a little more help.

2. Hang the new light in the kitchen. It should be here, but the store hasn't called yet. I'll call them on my way home from work if Andrew hasn't already. This is the one we're hanging:

It's going to look great above the table! I know that because we already got one, but it was missing a piece. Not just any piece- the piece that actually attaches the light to the ceiling. Kinda important. But the store was nice enough to order a brand new one for us as soon as we realized it was missing. Now we just have to go get it!

3. Laundry. There's always laundry. But not too much, I did a bunch on Tuesday when the security system was being installed.

4. Organize Bookshelf. We have a few boxes of books that are still packed. They need to be unpacked and the books need to find homes on the shelves. And I need to decide which ones are being taken to Half Price Books (used bookstore). Then I need to exert some will power and not buy a bunch more. I'll have to take Andrew with me. Bookstores are one of my weaknesses.

5. Plan meals for next week. Andrew's going out of town. If left to my own devices to plan dinner on a whim, I'm going to wind up eating macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches all week. Sad thing, I might be ok with that. My waistline will not.

6. Organize the rest of the Master Closet. If there's time. My shoes are nicely organized, so the important part is already done. ;-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Going Green Tip: Look for Energy Star

This week's tip for living a greener life:

Look for Energy Star

Next time you have to replace an appliance or electronic device, consider an Energy Star product. It might cost more up front, but usually pays for itself in energy savings.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Builder's Beige to Cozy Sage

You know it's a Friday afternoon when I start randomly rhyming things because I think it makes them sound cooler. Very rarely does that actually happen. Although with this one, it might be a little accurate.

We have more than a few rooms we want to paint in the house. We talked about getting it all done before moving in, but ultimately decided that we should live in the house for a while and really figure out how we were using the spaces. Hopefully that's going to help us pick the right colors, furniture arrangements, and figure out what we might still be missing.

Well, we spent the first week in the house getting unpacked. To be honest, we're still not totally unpacked, but at least for now everything is in and ready to be unpacked. We've gotten a great start on the organizing and sorting through everything. In addition to what we donated before the move, I've made two more trips to the Goodwill donation center near my office.

We decided to take a break from all that fun stuff. (Maybe it's only fun for me. I don't see the big guy racing to get to the baskets for the linen closets first.) We painted our family room! It's really a lot of wall to cover and since it shares a wall with the kitchen, we wanted a nice neutral color that would blend well with whatever we chose to put on the kitchen walls as an accent.

Enter Olympic paint in Crocodile Tears. We went with Olympic paint because it has a low VOC count which makes it better for the environment, and makes it not smell like paint at all. With all the paint we needed, having almost no paint fumes was great!

It's a really soft yellowish-sage that goes great against our white trim, white mantle, and really pops the colors in the granite counter tops and the tile around the fireplace. And now that I've rambled on, here are the before and after shots. The pictures may not be the best, but they'll give you a good idea of what the room looks like now. I'd like to say that I need a higher quality camera, but I'm pretty sure my camera could use a higher quality photographer.

This is the family room before we moved anything in. Blank slate? Absolutely!

The picture below is one taken after our first week. It's kind of an in-between stage for the family room.

And here we are with the new paint color! The room still feels really open, but just a little warmer than it was before. It's got a little more personality now as well. I'd show you how it looks in the kitchen, but there's a hot mess on the counter top next to the sink. I'll have to take a better (i.e. cleaner) picture this weekend.

Loki approves.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Week Progress

We've actually been in the house for about two weeks now, but I took a little break from the unpacking and organizing of it all to take a few pictures. I just didn't take the break for long enough to actually do anything with the pictures until now.

Some of these will come back again later as we finish more detail within the rooms, but for now, here's a pretty good snapshot of where we were after just a few days.

Before we could unpack anything, Loki had to check it all out. He sniffed all the corners, checked in all the closets, and even made sure he could survey the front yard from inside the house.

We're pretty sure he approved of the house. Although it took him a while to figure out that it was his new home. He kept waiting by the back door for us to finish up so we could go back to the apartment. He stopped doing that after a day or so. He's still trying to figure out the backyard, but once we get a fence up and he can roam around, he'll be pretty happy out there.
This front entry way is still a little bit bare, but I think we know what we're going to put there. For the first week though, it was a perfect spot for empty boxes.
Of course the TV got set up right away. And then the DVD shelves got put together thanks to Andrew & Owen. And then I alphabetized the DVDs.
All of them.
Because I'm like that.
The fireplace has gotten a little more attention, but for the first week, it was a good home to the clock and the fake plant. The clock will stay there, but the fake plant keeps bouncing around trying to find a more permanent place.
Our lovely kitchen. Which was filled with too many boxes to actually use for the first few days. We got it cleaned up before my parents came in, but it's already back to filled with boxes.
I'll work on that.
The loft has been another catch-all space. But we do have the new cover on the futon, making it look less like something I've had since college. I still need to re-do the legs on the frame, but we'll have time for that later.
A lot later.
This is where Andrew works when he's not on the road to meet with clients. I'm leaving most of this area up to him.
And by most, I mean the top of the desk.

This is the master bedroom. All we had in it for the first week was the bed. Without the mattress. We slept in the guest room. Then when the mattress came a few days after we moved in, we realized the pillows were still at the apartment. We picked those up the next day.

So after our first full week in the house we had a living room full of empty boxes, a kitchen full of cook books and not so empty boxes, a loft full of books, and clothes that had been used to make the book boxes less heavy to move, and a master bedroom full of almost nothing. We had so much to do, and very little time to get it done since my parents came into town on Saturday.

But it all got done, and after that first week it already felt like home.

Going Green Tip: Vote With Your Wallet

This week's tip for going green:

Vote with your wallet

Buy products from companies who care for the planet by using recycled packaging, solar-power, or eco-friendly ingredients and more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Going Green: The Do Not Mail List

I'm looking for some easy ways to start being more green. I've gotten lots of great ideas so far. But here's something that I did today. I signed up for the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Do Not Mail List.

It's like the Do Not Call list for junk mail. I don't want junk mail. It frustrates me, it takes up space in my mail box, and it just winds up going straight in the recycling bin without being opened. Sure the recycling bin is better than the trash can, but what if it never came in the first place? What if the paper was never wasted? What if the fuel to create it, transport it, and then recycle it never had to be used?

I like that option even more.

So, I went to this link and put in my information. I got an email to confirm that I do in fact want to be on the Do Not Mail List, and by clicking on the link in that email, I'm official.

Now the only mail I'm going to receive is the mail I want. And bills. Wonder how I manage to make them go away?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Going Green Tip: Go Organic

This week's tip for living a greener life:

Go organic

Organic farming doesn't use fertilizers or pesticides which can pollute the air and water. Choose organic produce and cotton (it's the most heavily sprayed crop) when you can.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Going Green Tip: Don't Depend on Oil

This week's tip for living a greener life:

Don't depend on oil

Many products are made from petroleum- including plastics, soaps, and detergents. To really decrease your dependency on oil, look for plant-based cleaners and plastic alternatives like glass.