Thursday, December 29, 2011

DIY Fence Picket Fireplace Screen

In the midst of all of the craziness during the past few months (read: lack of blogging), I completely forgot to tell you guys about one of the coolest DIY projects in our house!

A couple of months ago we made what I consider to be one of our best investments for the new house so far: a gas log for the fireplace. I am extremely cold-natured and tend to crank the heater up to close to 75 degrees in the winter. You wouldn't believe how much we have saved on our electric bill this winter thanks to my new best friend. I wish I had one in every room!

What you can't tell from this picture is that the fireplace is actually double-sided. The other side is open to the master bedroom. Great for heating purposes but a little weird when you have guests over. I dealt with it for several months because I couldn't find a solid fireplace screen that was up to par, but once the gas log went in I knew it was time to create my own solution. The backside of gas logs aren't real beautiful to look at.

Lo and behold, we happened to have a huge pile of old fence pickets lying around in the alley. I proposed an idea to the hubs and he made it happen. I wish so badly that I could say that this was my DIY project (I mean clearly I'm the brains behind it), but unfortunately I just didn't have the man-power to make this one happen. I don't use saws. Or drills.

Ethan gathered up the pickets that were in the best shape and made sure to clean them really well and spray them down with bug repellent. Next, he measured the height of the fireplace and cut the pickets to size. He created three different sections so the screen could fold and connected the pickets in each section by running two horizontal boards down the back. I picked out some hinges at Lowe's that I spray painted with a hammered bronze color to make them look aged. Ethan attached the hinges and just like that, we had the perfect fireplace screen!

{Forgive the iPhone photos. I took these back when all I had were broken cameras.}

I love the special touch that it gives to the fireplace. It fits perfectly with my decor. I couldn't have found a better fit from any store! And in case you're wondering... we do leave it out even when the log is turned on. It feels slightly warm to the touch after the fire has been going for a long time but never gets even remotely hot. However, I probably wouldn't recommend using it in front of a wood-burning fireplace unless you don't actually have a fire going. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrapping with Ribbons

I generally consider myself to be a pretty fast-paced person. Truth be told, I'm always in a hurry. I may not have anywhere important to be, but I still have to get from points A to B as quickly as possible. Yes, I know that's a quality that is frowned upon by many authors of life quotes.

But for some strange reason of which I'm not sure, there are three things that I am EXTREMELY slow at. Like... impossibly, embarrassingly slow.

a) Getting ready in the mornings. Now that I have normal working hours again, I don't have the luxury of taking 2-3 hours of getting ready like I did when I didn't have to work until 10 or 12 each day. In fact, because I'm 100% unwilling to wake up earlier than 6:20 each day, I now have to take two showers per day so I can wash my hair at night because I'm no longer capable of having time before work. What do I do that takes me so long? Even I cannot provide an answer to that question. An average person could pull everything that I do off in about 45 minutes. I know, because under extreme circumstances, I've done it.

b) Cleaning my house. Which is unfortunate, because it's something I do constantly. Most people could accomplish this in 4 hours. It takes me an hour and a half (no exaggeration) to clean the master bathroom alone.

c) Wrapping gifts. The REAL reason we're here today. I've been known to accomplish only 2 presents during the span of an entire Christmas movie (because all wrapping must be done while watching a Christmas movie). This year I knocked it out by wrapping 2-3 presents every evening for a couple of weeks. A few nights ago, all that was on my agenda was two BOWS that I needed to put on two presents that I had already wrapped. I spent an hour and a half on the first bow and then ripped it apart because it was ugly (don't attempt to create a non-traditional bow out of mesh ribbon and hot glue).

By this point you're most likely thinking that I have the most beautifully wrapped, intricately detailed presents in the universe. I have truly set myself up for failure on this one. But either way, I'm really happy with the way they turned out this year. Simple. Chic. Vintage-ish. White and cream. They'll do. And everyone can say their present was wrapped in a unique, one-of-a-kind way... which is what I was most going for.
 Unfortunately I have another long night of wrapping ahead of me. Christmas with my fam isn't until this weekend, so I've been putting a few presents off in order to regain my motivation. Hope I can manage to get the bows on these right the first time!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Journeying Full Circle

Remember that time that I told you that I was going to get my life back? Well, I have. But apparently the blog has yet to follow. Oops.

Anyways. I got a new job!!!!!! Yep, went out and found a new job only 4 months after my last new job, but who's counting?

As much as I would like to say on the topic, I will just say this - I learned a valuable lesson in life while working at my last job. Actually like a thousand life lessons. And nowww I've come full circle, because I'm back at TTUHSC where I worked for the first 2 years after graduating.

And I couldn't be happier.

You see, back then I didn't realize how great I had it here. I had no prior work experience so I guess I figured that the environment and the people that I would work with anywhere would be just as great.

Wrong wrong and wrongggg.

I love this place. There's just something about it. I'm so happy to be back. I hope that I will never leave again.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Santa...

{1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9}

I give you, in no particular order, my Christmas wish list. Dream big, right? :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Balls of Yarn Wreath

Last weekend I made my very first holiday wreath! I meant to do a little step-by-step but I really had no clue where I was going with this project so it didn't happen. Basically I just took different sizes of foam balls and wrapped them in yarn and jute. I hot glued them to my wreath form and then threw in some Christmas ornaments to make it more "Christmasy" looking. I stayed away from red and green though... #1 because I don't do red in my house, and #2 because I don't want to have to switch out my wreath until spring!!! And now... off to work I go.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"No-Sew" Sewed Ruffled Tree Skirt

As soon as I saw the DIY No-Sew Ruffle Tree Skirt craze going around Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. I've never had a real tree skirt because I've never found something that coordinated with my decor well enough. I had a ton of burlap in the garage so I decided to alternate rows of that and some super cheap white linen from Hobby Lobby. It was somewhere around $2.45 per yard. Then I went to Dollar Tree and got a hideous $1.00 felt tree skirt to use as a base.

I cut 2 yards of each kind of fabric into long strips that were 3 inches wide. In case you want an idea of how long that takes (mostly by fault of the burlap), I watched Men in Black and Serendipity all the way through with commercials and then about half of Serendipity over again. So yeah.

Then I took a break for a couple of weeks. :)

When I was nice and refreshed, I began pinning my first row of burlap ruffles. Then I took yet another week long break. I'm telling you people, this is not an easy project. It requires a LOT of dedication.

The original reason why I was drawn to this project was because it was a "No-Sew". All you needed was a hot glue gun and about 200 sticks of glue. But thennnn I thought about it. And thought about it. And then came to the final conclusion that the burlap would probably take ages to glue down and my ruffles might not be perfect.

So the "No-Sew Tree Skirt" became a sewing project. And let me tell you... it was quite the sewing project. I pinned and sewed 1-2 ruffles every few nights for a good three weeks. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that every row was shorter than the last.

And then... weeks later... I was DONE!!!! I decided I had to hot glue at least one part of the skirt so I glued some twine along the open part so I could tie it around the tree.

If I absolutely had to could do it again, I would make my ruffles line up. I got lazy with the linen and made the ruffles as I was sewing rather than pinning them so they look very haphazard.

The unfortunate kicker is that I created this for a 6 foot tree but then ended up getting a 9-footer a couple of weeks ago. Which means that I need to add several rows to make it a couple of feet larger.

It's going to have to do for now. I'll make it big enough for the tree next year. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

As my dad always tells me...


Why hello there (very) faithful and patient blog readers. Miss me? I just wanted to drop in to let you know that I'm about to get a good portion of my life back.

Life back = blog back.

More on that to come! :)