Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let's Take This Outside!

We have officially and finally made it to Spring! What better way to celebrate than to put our new patio to good use! On the first day of Spring, Tommy and I went over to Home Depot, our home away from home, after some outdoor living-space research and bought our first outdoor patio table and set of chairs. If we can't enjoy eating inside our house right now, why not outside, right?

 Here we are beginning our task of putting the table together before it gets too dark out... we finally finished by flashlight. It just couldn't wait 'till morning for some reason.

And here we are the next day. Much better by daylight.

We also picked up an olive green patio umbrella for the sunny seasons, which in Minne-snow-ta that's all of two weeks it seems. The previous owners had lost the one and only shade tree in the backyard to Dutch Elm's before we moved in, so we figured a little shade would come in handy, for a day or two that is. 
I'm hoping to whip up some nicely colored throw pillows as I have discovered that JoAnn's, an all time favorite, carries outdoor fabric as well! "Whip up"... I'll just add that to my long list of Honey Do's. We'll see at what point I get those done in time to still enjoy them in our outdoor living space. Only time will tell.

We also do not want to mask the fact that we are living in a Jumanji-like house with all sorts of intimidating plant life.
Just the other day Tommy had discovered that this was our house when google maps had uploaded a picture of it sometime when it was warmer out. It also needed a bit of a hair cut... Do you see the Jumanji reference yet? No? Try and jungle-walk your way through the garden they had behind it. It's quite an adventure I tell ya! They had all sorts of growing activity including a vegetable and herb garden, plum tree, cherry tree, shade gardens and the list goes on. Since Tommy and I wouldn't know a weed from a wildflower, I have decided to rule out destroying anything before we even know what's in there. I started raking away all the dead life and little did I know, Spring has already brought on some greenery! If anyone has any interest in helping Tommy and I dig our way out of the backyard, we are extending our most gracious invite to ALL gardeners!!! SOS, we need help! Who knows, we might just send you home with a plant or two as a peace offering.

Courtesy of Google Maps (Before)
Oh and just in case you don't remember the "after" photos of our house, here is a little reminder. Very bare and white, but the trees and bushes were all removed before we moved in. Here they are

I'm really looking forward to our house taking on the Spring and Summer shape, because I'm feeling our front yard is a little bare now. It's not quite balanced out from the looks of our jungle in the back, but soon enough I'll get this whole green thumb thing down.

My motivation is just over the fence, our neighbors have their very own pond with a fountain an' all! Some day we'll get there. Someday. In the meantime, we have only begun to experience the old saying  'keepin' up with the Joneses.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A House of a Different Color

Well, from the looks of our headline, most of you might think that Lauren and Tommy have finally gotten on the painting wagon, but sadly no. Fortunately, Tommy and I have become a new house. Not just a blooming house, but a baby house... babysitting that is. We were so excited for Monday to roll around because my sister and brother-in-law were in need of a sitter while they could get their concert fix that they have been a bit short on these days. We were so happy to help them out and have my little niece, Miss Ara Jane (pronounced like Sarah, without the S) come over to play!

Our living room was where my sister 'setup shop' and gave us the rundown for the night. No kidding, our house went from unfinished living spaces to Ara's changing station and playroom. This is my kind of remodeling: lay a few blankets down along with what I like to call, a bag-o-tricks and you're good to go! Even Ara is more color coordinated than we are. Pink all the way!

And now for the entertainment!

We blew bubbles...

We giggled a lot...

We watched tv...

We watched ourselves...

We had dinner...

We had a pajama party... 

My sister made sure to pack the Valentine's Day jammies for Ara's Valentine Aunt. Sooo cute!

We watched Uncle Tommy pass out early and snickered at him. What a rookie.

And then it was Ara's turn. Shhhhh!!

She is such a wonderful baby and couldn't be more happy and proud of my sister and brother-in-law's beautiful family. She is always welcome to our Blooming House. And speaking of which, both The Blooming House and Ara will be having more family visitors this weekend. Ara's cousins, or "Cuzzies" as my grandma would always say, Carter and Avery are coming to town with her Aunt Jennifer and her grandma, aka "Nana". Let's hope for the best 5+ hour drive for the family mobile because I can't wait to see them all!

oxo Hugs and baby kisses too! G'night! oxo

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here Comes the Welcome Wagon!

Tommy and I have been extremely anxious for the warm weather to stick around for two main reasons: 1) so that we can see what kind of house and yard we got ourselves into after all the snow has disappeared and 2) we're hoping the neighbors will soon be creeping out from their winter dens that they have been hibernating in so we can finally introduce ourselves. It's always a little strange to do a meet and greet at 6:50 in the morning as we're scraping our cars before work. So far we have discovered a close friend of my Minnesota family lives across the street and I myself, have found out the neighbor's dog's names without evening knowing the owner's names. Shocking, I know. But last night before my first attempt (and very successful I might add) at a traditional Irish dinner, we had unexpected visitors stop in at The Blooming House.

("To Our New Neighbors!")

 We were pleasantly welcomed to the neighborhood by one of our many new neighbors. They came fully equip with booze, caffeine and assorted chocolates as a friendly 'hello'. What a wonderful gesture and we discovered real fast that these are our kind of people! Not to mention they have a dog named "Brody" that I 'm sure I'll become good buddies with in no time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Loopty Lu and her Crafty Corner

Anyone that knows me well enough is aware that I do love me some crafting! My friends and family have been feeding the fire by contributing to my addiction to the lovely JoAnne Fabrics with gift cards, large sewing reference text books (I call it the Bible) and subscriptions to DIY magazines this past Christmas and Valentine's Birthday. I know and LOVE how nerdy it is and all the possibilities that I can do with something so small as a button. And now that I have introduced myself to the blogging world, I have decided to welcome you into my craft room at home. I thought it would give me a chance to get my ideas in order and put them out there in hopes to inspire someone else as I'm always finding my inspiration elsewhere.

So to get my 'Crafty Corner' going, I'm setting this up as a post and not it's own section just yet because I'm still so new at this. I haven't quite figured out where and how I create this corner I speak of. So I guess this is a craft post AND a cry out to anyone that may have some suggestions for me. I'd really like to make a separate home for my craft projects and inspirations on our blog because I think and hope that my projects will continue to build and take over! With that said, I'm planning on needing some more space. So bear with me as I continue to build that portion of the blog and again, I invite anyone to help me out with suggestions from the blogger gurus out there.

For now, here is a little something that I would like to share as I was quite proud of the final product.

Before Christmas 2009, I decided to finally take the plunge and purchase my own sewing machine. So I asked my MN Aunt (sewing guru) to help me out with what brands to search for and what to walk away from. In the end, in keeping with my budget, since these lil guys don't come cheap I learned, I bought my very own Brother: Innov-is Project Runway Limited Edition sewing machine. Now for those of you that do NOT follow Project Runway, now airing on Lifetime, shame on you, but there is time for you to catch up! I didn't plan on bringing home the goods with Project Runway printed in pink all over it, BUT it does kinda make me smile and remind myself... "You're a nerd, Lauren."

My very first sewing project was going to be small and something that I could figure out on my own as I was so eager to get that needle going, but I ran into a small issue. No fabric to work with that night and I wasn't about to wait for the next evening to arrive after a long day at work. So I ran down to my "donation" pile of clothes that I had been collecting down in the basement and low and behold, I found a few beautiful, but shrunken sweaters. They were in such great shape, just not size so I ended up cutting them up and....

...voila! Sweater Throw Pillows! My favorite part about the final project is the GAP tag (R pillow) and Abercrombie Moose tag (not shown, on L pillow) I saved and sewed it in as a design element. Silly, but a reminder that they were sweaters at one point. The button you see on the left was from a button collection that my MN Aunt had been holding on to until I started drooling over them one day and she told me I could "Have at it!" I tried to keep the original seam at the bottom of the sweater on the L pillow and just ran a stitch right threw the bottom without turning it inside out to keep the original look.

And here's the best part about my nerdy project... I later found this couch display in Pottery Barn's February 2010 issue. Buttons on pillows! Needless to say I came up with this little ditty back in December of 2009, so who's nerdy now, huh?

Down an' Dirty

As our appliances are ordered and in route, we got a bit of a kick in the pants on getting the dirty work done before they arrive. So the first beast to tackle was removing the rancid sitting water in the dishwasher that had been there since we moved in. Yes, we recognize that this is probably too much information to share, but to give you a little background, we bought the house fully aware that the dishwasher was broken. Since we were plotting out our kitchen makeover a little sitting water was no matter to us until the new appliances were brought in. We vowed to NEVER open it to to keep us from experiencing the lovely fumes coming from it. Out of site, out of mind, right? Well, that day has come.

As you can see here, I let Tommy take care of the dirty work as I just took pictures of it from a distance, gas mask an' all!

 Since I was already masked up, why not sand more cabinets, right? 

No cabinet too big. Just me and my sander!

Ok, let's be real, I could use a break too. But only a week or so to go!!!

And since we're on the topic of kitchen cabinets, I think it's time to address the huge white, er, I mean YELLOW elephant in the kitchen. Yes, it is time to part with the spectacular-sixties yellow backsplash. Again, Tommy's brother, Norm came to the rescue with a genius of an instrument that was just right for the job. I have no idea what it's called, but I'd like to name it 'Lauren's Claw', because I clawed my way through that whole wall in probably under an hour total. The project just might top my sheer love of ripping down the wall paper a few weeks back because this time a hammer was involved and there was nothing standing in my way.

Tommy and I have set a new goal. I know, I know... more goals to read about. We would like to have the cabinets completely sanded and painted before the big delivery. I still think this is a bit of a stretch, since we only have a little over a week, but this is how we work around the Blooming House. Setting small goals, checking them off, (high fives) and then moving on to the next. And yes, that is how it works. The smallest of accomplishments have become HUGE achievements for us, (with the help and wonderful guidance of Norm of course!) because in the end we did it.

Exhibit A: We were in desperate need of installing some blinds in the living room and dining room on the first floor. Otherwise the neighbors would start questioning 'Who the heck moved in next door and why are they doing the robot in front of the window???'

It's like I have said before, the smallest challenges (i.e. window blinds) have become great celebrations for us. (insert celebration dance here) We now have not one, but THREE big windows blinds installed!

Look at that sense of accomplishment on his face. I believe double high-fives were in order.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oh so close, yet still two weeks away.

Tommy made good on his promise!!! We purchased our new appliances on March 5th, they will be delivered in two weeks. To keep a little suspense going we will not be showing what the appliances look like in our house until our kitchen redo reveal! Stay tuned.