Hey ya’ll! I’m back. Again. I’m sorry to disappear on you guys. I wish I had some actual reason or excuse, but I don’t. I’m just tired. And sad. I don’t say sad in a “boohoo feel sorry for me kind of way” just in a, I’m not motivated right now kind of way. You see, the weeks that I’ve been disappearing have been weeks where Jesse is out of town for work. I HATE to be alone, so when he’s gone I try to go out almost every night with people or with my mom and I get home late and don’t do projects. Then there’s nothing to blog about. We have a grocery list of projects coming down the pipeline, so things are coming to the blog. Just not this month. And that’s the honest to goodness truth.
The good news is that Jesse is done traveling for awhile. Which means that I will have my muse and motivation back! In fact, I pick him up from the airport tonight! It’s funny how much more he motivates me, you’d think that I’d get more done without him around, but I don’t. I thrive on being around people and being home alone, and knowing I will be for weeks, just demotivates me and puts me in a creative rut.
But, the rut is over! Jesse is on his way home and I’ve got a ton of projects coming! I’m painting our kitchen chairs, finishing and selling our first farmhouse table, oh and redoing a bathroom. Stay tuned, things are just getting good.
To be continued…
(I’ve obviously been watching too much tv this month)
Whew! It has been one hell of a week! Starting a new job is definitely an adjustment, and to make this adjustment even worse I’ve been spending the last 45 minutes of every work day in traffic. It takes me 25 minutes to get to work, but almost double to get home! Yesterday, I tried to avoid the traffic and ended up sitting on a back road for even longer. Soooo… I went home and poured myself a big ole glass of wine. Now I’ve been a wine connoisseur (I use that term VERY loosely) for years and I usually just put my bottles on a shelf in the pantry. Which is disgraceful. But imagine my excitement a few weeks ago at Haven when Home Depot handed me a kit for building a wine rack. The rack came in 6 pieces, 2 for each shelf and then 2 sides, plus all of the screws to assemble it. Home Depot could not have made it any simpler. Seriously. I could have built this rack while drinking wine. I DO NOT CONDONE DRINKING WINE WHILE USING POWER TOOLS OF ANY KIND. Now some of the cuts on the pieces were a little rough. (It’s ok Home Depot, I don’t blame you. That much.) But it was nothing the sanding attachment on my handy dandy Dremel couldn’t fix. The Dremel was my tool of choice because the small, round attachment worked perfectly in the curved areas of the shelves. After I Dremeled (Is that a verb?) the curved areas, I hand-sanded all of the flat areas to prep them for staining. I stained the rack using another goodie from Haven, Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths! These cloths are amazing and currently my most favorite toy. I love just slapping on a pair of gloves, grabbing a wipe and smearing on the stain. Simple.The wipes I got came in a beautiful Dark Mahogany. My favorite Minwax color is Dark Walnut, but I’m still very happy with the Dark Mahogany. Dark stain is my jam.After the stain dried I put the whole thing together and filled it with wine bottles. I also poured a glass for myself. For photography reasons of course. Now this rack isn’t very large, which is fine for me right now because usually I drink them more than I store them. When we go to vineyards and buy several bottles this will really come in handy though. Hopefully when Jesse stops traveling every couple of weeks we can plan a little vacation to go wine tasting. Mmmm… wine.Now the above pictures are pretty lovely, and staged. But it’s all a lie. The wine rack does not normally live on my kitchen table. It lives on the counter, between the refrigerator and the microwave. Glamorous, I know.Right now the dark stain doesn’t match anything in my kitchen. It’s rich and elegant, and my kitchen is not. But it will be, one day. Hopefully one day soon I will have a gorgeous kitchen. One with white cabinets and a fun backsplash. It’s the American Dream, and when that dream comes true I will have a lovely little wine rack to go with it.
Speaking of dreams, if you dream of mason jars then you’re going to want to enter the Ball giveaway in honor of International Can-It-Forward Day. There’s 3 sets of different kinds of jars, Sip and Straw lids and an infuser. Go enter now! And have an awesome traffic-free, wine-filled weekend!
If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time then you know that I love to incorporate mason jars into my vignettes around the house and for parties. I’ve spray painted jars gold, filled them with wine corks, used them to hold toothbrushes, and filled them with flowers. Seriously, I love them. So when the folks at Ball Mason Jars contacted me and asked if I’d review a few of their products, including the green American Heritage collection jars that I’ve been coveting for awhile, I jumped at the chance! Look at how beautiful they are!
Along with the awesome green jars, can you tell I have a thing for green?, came their Sip and Straw Lids. These lids are awesome for taking mason jars on the go, not only because they look super hipster, but because the jars are glass instead of plastic and the lids are BPA free. I’ll be using the jars for my iced coffee instead of the plastic cups I usually use. Along with the lids, I received a few Mason Jar Mugs, which are a little less convenient for me to take in the car because of the handle, but I prefer the handle for using them at home.
Another goodie that I’m really enjoying is the Mason Jar Infuser. The infuser is BPA free and made for Wide Mouth mason jars. You simply fill the infuser compartment with cut fruit, herbs, you name it! After the compartment is full, attach it to the green lid and screw the lid onto your wide mouth jar. The jar can be filled with water, juice, vodka, whatever you’re in the mood to drink. I filled my infuser with some watermelon and blueberries that we got at our local farmer’s market over the weekend. The taste wasn’t super strong, but it was still yummy! It may be because watermelon isn’t super strong.Now, I feel kind of silly writing this post about Mason Jars when I have never used them for their original intended purpose, canning. Lucky for me on Saturday, August 16th, Ball is hosting their 4th International Can-It-Forward Day, which will not only include classes on crafting and mixology (woot!) but also, canning! The event is hosted by judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, Hugh Acheson, who will also be doing a preserving and mixology demonstration. You can find more information on Can-It-Forward Day, including the schedule for Saturday’s demonstrations, by visiting their website or by checking out the event hashtag, #canitforward, on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, a giveaway for all you lovely Ball Mason Jar loving readers featuring all of the products I mentioned today!
· The New Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Collection Jars (Both pint and quart sized): These limited edition jars commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Ball brothers’ “Perfection” Jar and come in a beautiful green tint. These are being produced only in 2014 and are available in both pint and quart varieties.
· 4-pack 16oz Drinking Mugs: Research shows people prefer drinking out of glass to plastic, I know I do! These sturdy handled mugs are perfect for entertaining and serving mocktails, cocktails or simply infused water!
· Mason Jar Infuser: This sturdy BPA-free plastic top fits on any wide mouth mason jar and is equipped with a hanging basket which you can fill with your favorite herbs, fruits, etc to add a hint of flavor to water, tea or spirits.
· Sip & Straw Lids: Fitting perfectly atop any Wide Mouth or Regular Mouth Ball Jar, these easy sip lids allow you to enjoy every last drop of your beverage. Use along or with the included reusable green striped straw for convenience on the go.
I’m baaack!! I know I disappeared for awhile, but with the whole I got a new job thing I really needed some time off. I start my new job today, so I’m ready to jump back into blogging, DIYing, working out and creating a general day to day routine to go with it. Over the weekend Jesse and I started on a few projects and did a lot of brainstorming for even more projects. Exciting things are coming to the blog, things like:
Refinishing the kitchen chairs
Redoing the guest bathroom (we found some unfortunate issues with the floors and possible water damage)
Painting the kitchen cabinets
Painting our stair treads
Finally finishing our first table to sell
And much, much more!!! (Said in a game show announcer voice)
I’m seriously so excited for everything that is happening! While I was gone I was busy having a blast though. I went to a wedding for one of my very close college friends.
I chopped off all my hair, twice.
Jesse went out of town for two weeks, and came home.
I also signed up for The Color Run, which is coming to Richmond in September. I haven’t worked out in weeks and my new job comes with a gym membership so I’m going to be hitting the treadmill and getting ready to run! You can find out if the run is coming near you by checking their website, and I will have a code for $5 off posted later this week!
Sorry today’s post is a short hodge podge, but good things are coming! Woohoo!
Hello friends! Sorry to skip the Weekend Recap on Monday! We didn’t do much, just down time with friends and each other, which is always nice just not very exciting. Things have been a bit hectic around here lately because…. I GOT A NEW JOB! This may not seem super exciting, but if you know me then you know how bad I’ve been wanting this! I started the hunt almost a year ago and I’ve been on several interviews in the past 6 months, but nothing panned out. Getting a “no” almost every week was one the sources for my “blues” back in May. It’s so disheartening to sit at a job everyday and feel pointless, which is where I was this Spring. I couldn’t move up, there was no opportunity for raises or more responsibility, and my boss and I didn’t get along. It sucked. Well, it didn’t all suck, I’ve made a TON of great friends at this job over the years (most of them left before me haha) and it has been a lot of fun. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, about the web and about responsibility. And if it wasn’t for this job I never would have started blogging! It’s just time to move on.
The week before Haven I had a phone interview for the new job and they called me back right before I left for the conference to schedule an in-person interview for Monday. I got off the plane from Haven late Sunday afternoon, had dinner, prepped for my interview and crashed into the bed. The next morning I felt like a zombie, so I loaded up on caffeine and headed to the interview. On the way there I hit traffic (naturally) and a big box truck knocked down some phone lines right in front of my car. By this point I was late and freaking out. I finally made it to the interview, did my best and crossed my fingers when it was all over. This Monday, I got the call that they wanted to speak to my current boss for one last reference, awkward. So I had to tell him I’d been looking and anxiously hope that the phone call went well. I guess it did, because officially was offered and accepted the job yesterday! I’m now fulfilling my last two weeks at my current job, and will start the new one on the 11th!
I’m so excited for this new adventure and all the opportunities that come with it! This new job does have a longer commute and there wont be downtime to do things like read blogs, write posts, and update social media, so it will definitely be an adjustment as far as the blog goes. If things get quiet, you’ll know why! I’m hoping this new job will force me to be more organized and actually make a real schedule here. I’m hoping to finally write posts a week or two in advance and be better about scheduling social media posts. I also plan on setting aside a few evenings a week for reading blogs and commenting, just like you make time for coffee with friends! Bear with me over the next few weeks! I do have big plans for projects and things as far as the blog is concerned, it just may take awhile to get there!
Thanks for all your support! And as always, thanks so much for reading!
When we were doing party prep I had another project on my to-do list, aside from the mantle, decorations and everything else, and that was to find a better way to have sofa table. After we bought our new sectional I knew I wanted a space for lamps, to set drinks and to have pretty things, so Jesse and I started building a sofa table. It had to be tall enough to go behind the couch, but also skinny to not take up a lot of space. What we built ended up being a wobbly piece of crap, so we scrapped it and went back to the drawing board. I thought about the fact that the curtains would cover the side of the table and no one would ever see anything but the tabletop, and I also thought about how much I liked being able to slide things behind the couch. This all led to me deciding to make our sofa table a shelf on brackets instead. I went out, bought a 12″ wide piece of white wood, cut it down to size, stained it and gave it a few layers of poly. After it was all sealed and ready to go I measured out the spacing of the studs and attached the brackets to my shelf. And then I realized that I’m an idiot and I flipped the shelf the wrong way, so the brackets didn’t line up with the studs. Never fear, that’s what anchors are for! Even though I wanted to doing that, at least it was an option. Boom! Shelf/sofa table! And look at all the space underneath the shelf! It’s perfect for my lighting kit, which is too big and bulky to go anywhere else, and for my yoga mat since I workout in the living room.
I love the contrast of the dark wood and the grey couch, and it’s perfect to have a place to for another vignette, lamps and to set my wine. You know, because I’m too lazy to lean forward to pick my wine glass up from the coffee table. This was another super simple project that has really improved the room and we love having the lamps and extra space behind the couch. This project has also confirmed my love of walnut stain, I’m pretty sure my next project is to stain the top of our coffee table walnut.
I hope you all have a great weekend! I’ve got a blogger meetup, dinner with friends, and lots of time with my husband planned and I’m really looking forward to it. Oh, and sleep, lots of sleep to make up for last weekend at Haven.
Yes, fancy-ing is totally a word. And I think it’s the best word to describe the little face-lift I gave our mantle recently, which you may have noticed in some of my pictures from our ‘Murica party.
After I finished the tv stand, and most of the living room, I realized that the fireplace needed something to balance it with the rest of the room. Since we don’t want to paint the brick, because it wraps around the corner and into the kitchen, I decided that painting the mantle was the way to go. Before the mantle was just a large piece of wood resting on the brick and it didn’t really “pop” or catch a lot of focus, but I really think the white helps change that.
Another thing that really helps the mantle look more finished and eye catching is the crown molding that we added around to it. I went to Home Depot and picked up a piece of primed molding for less than $5 and we trimmed it down to the measurements we needed using our miter saw at a 45 degree angle. Once all the cuts were done I slathered the molding in wood glue and positioned it on the mantle. The width of the molding was 1/4″ less than the mantle, but that was the closest size and it doesn’t look weird so I rolled with it. Also ignore all the scuffed paint, I was impatient and didn’t wait for everything to dry before attaching the molding and it got a little beat up. For added support I also nailed the molding in place using a sink, at least that’s what we call it. Since the glue wasn’t dry, again I’m impatient, Jesse held things in place while I sunk the finishing nails. Once everything was nailed in place it was time to caulk all the little nail holes and seams, wait for that to dry, and then finish everything off with another coat of paint! I skipped poly for this project since the only action the mantle sees is when I change it out for the seasons/holidays. I did wait 48 hours for the paint to cure before I set up for the party though and there was no peeling or scratching when I took everything down. After the party I procrastinated packing for Haven by styling a new vignette. I wanted to go clean and simple with pops of color to really bring focus to the mantle. I love how much lighter everything on the mantle looks now, and the white really lets the colors from the bottles and teal frame really shine. It’s so fancy.This was definitely one of those “Duh” projects where I’m wondering why I didn’t do it sooner! Just compare it to all the other mantlescapes I’ve done! Now I’m on the hunt for the “perfect” mirror to hang over the mantle to help reflect more natural light and make the room appear wider.
Anyone else have a quick, cheap project that makes you want to kick yourself and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner? Or is that just me, the queen of procrastination!
*Warning: This post contains a lot words and a lot of crappy iPhone pictures, but I’m attempting to share EVERYTHING about Haven in one post.*
Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Haven Conference in Atlanta. I’ve been wanting to go to this conference since the first one 3 years ago, and was so excited to finally make it happen! It was an incredible experience and I learned so much and met so many amazing bloggers! I totally don’t feel weird calling these ladies friends anymore.
I left for Atlanta on Thursday morning and met up with Jess from Little House. Big Heart, who was my roomie for the weekend, after landing. Jess and I have been following each other’s blogs for almost 3 years and elevated beyond comments to talking on G chat and recently, to texting! It was so nice to talk to her in person and put a voice to her words.
That first night there was a cocktail reception and time to chat and meet other bloggers. I met so many amazing ladies that night like, Emily, Kelly, Kim, Michelle, Amber, Amanda, Caitlin, Cassie and Katja. That initial night also put me at ease for the rest of the weekend. I was nervous that things would be awkward, but it wasn’t. It was like seeing old friends. After the reception a bunch of us headed out to dinner at Tin Lizzie’s for some real food. I had the Southern Comfort tacos, which was chicken, BBQ sauce, goat cheese and fried pickles. It sounds weird and gross, but trust me, it was delicious!
Friday morning kicked off with the keynote speaker Chip Wade from HGTV’s Elbow Room. It was so cool to see the spaces that he’s designed and put together on his show and hear him talk about optimizing space in homes in unique ways.
Friday I went to several great sessions including Blogging Trade Secrets with Laura of Finding Home, Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Erin of DIY on the Cheap and Dusty of All Things G&D. I learned a lot about expanding the blog and a LOT about branding the blog. I spent some time on the airplane reflecting on this class and what exactly the brand of this blog is. After meeting people and hearing some of the things they said about my blog and me, I realized that Attempts at Domestication really is me! I by all means don’t have it all together, but I’m trying. Trying to make my house a home for Jesse and I, trying to save money by DIYing, trying to cook (occasionally) and trying to live a full and fun life as a wife. My life is all about attempting!
Another amazing class was High End DIY with Danielle of Danielle Oakey Interiors, Courtney of A Thoughtful Place and Kirsten of 6th Street Design School. I’ve been following Courtney for a few years and she always has the most amazing spaces! It was so inspiring to learn from her, and the other two ladies about ways to incorporate high end items and DIY projects to make a house seem more high end rather than kitschy.
Friday evening was another cocktail party followed by a dance party. I LOVE dancing and throwing down, so this was right up my alley.
Kim, me, Michelle & Jess
I did make the mistake of wearing a strapless bra that night, so my dancing was constantly holding things in place haha. Luckily for me Karah was there to help a girl out! Karah was one of the first blog friends that I made back in 2011, so I was extremely excited to finally meet her in person!
This picture is technically from Saturday.
Saturday was full of more sessions and meeting bloggers! Jess and I both went to a session on working with brands with Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, Mandi of Vintage Revivals and Diane of In My Own Style. I’ve worked with a few brands before, like JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, but never for monetary compensation. The session was very helpful in showing me how to approach brands that I may want to work with in the future. The biggest thing with brands for me is that I always want to make sure that I’m working with a brand that I’m already using. I always want to be honest with you guys and even though I would love to make actual money blogging (making money from doing something you already love is the dream right?!) I never want to BS my readers!
Before the wrap up that night I had dinner with Jess, Amanda, and Kelly at Chuy’s. I know, I’m obsessed with this place. We had such great, heart-felt conversations about life and family, it was cool to get that deep with people so quickly! These girls are the best!
The closing party was another amazing time with dancing and cocktails and gave me a chance to grab photos with some of my fave bloggers!
Cassie and I danced the night away and she was my “Fancy” singing partner. ‘Murica!
It was so great to meet Anna after years of following her blog. Thanks again for the caffeine hookup!
I’ve been following Kim for years and it was so great to finally connect in person. You should follow her on Twitter, she’s hilarious!
Jen‘s projects are some of my favorites in the blogosphere! I found her blog not too long after she reupholstered her couch and I’ve been hooked ever since!
Cassie is so sweet and so stylish! I love how much her home and projects reflect her and her style. She’s the person that gave me the guts to try mixing patterns!
Emily was so much fun to talk to and hang out with on the dance floor! Plus, her house and her style are just incredible!
Brittany is just a bad@$$. She’s done so many amazing projects and after talking to her I feel like I can do anything. I’ll definitely be asking for her advice in the future when we work on the kitchen!
One of the biggest things that blew my mind is that these bloggers that I look up to actually knew me! I leave comments and follow people on social media, but never really think that they see me, at least not enough to know me when I walk up to them!
Cassie, me, Sarah & Anna
I had such a fabulous time at Haven, and I hope that I can pull off going again next year! I met so many amazing ladies and really learned a lot about myself. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true! I can’t wait to really hop into blogging in the coming weeks and put everything into action!
Me, Kelly & Caitlin
Ok, overload over. Check back in tomorrow for the return to DIY! I hope you had an awesome weekend!
As promised, today I’m sharing the rules that Jesse created for the drinking game True American. If you’ve never heard of True American, it’s a game created on the show New Girl. It’s kind of complex and can only be described as a drinking game, with a Candy Land like structure, a lot of confusing rules, and the floor is lava. You can find out more about it in this BuzzFeed article.
Since we were having a ‘Murica party, nothing seemed more American than a game called True American, plus who doesn’t love to climb on other people’s furniture? But the game from New Girl takes a while to play and the rules aren’t super clear, so Jesse decided to rework the rules and the game so that we could play multiple times and keep people interested. And thus True American of 1776 was born!
To play you’re going to need red solo cups, a goblet or chalice of sorts (we used a PLASTIC wine glass), a picture of King George, duct tape and plenty of space to set up your “game board.” We used our garage to play and set up a table in the center of the room. In the middle of the table is where King George and the “chalice” go, they will be surrounded by red solo cups (the Red Coats). In the first two games we actually had the cups set up in a uniform manner, but stopped caring later in the night. You will need at least 6 cups per player, ie. 5 players equals 30 cups. Still with me?
Around the table is where you want to set up your “game board.” We used an assortment of chairs (we have a set of “party chairs” that are old and crappy that we used), cardboard boxes, door mats and pieces of plywood for “spaces” people stand on to stay out of the lava. The “spaces” were setup in a circular pattern around the table. Hopefully this really bad diagram helps:
To start the game all players stand around the table and chant “Paul Revere, Paul Revere, The British are Coming, The British are Coming” chugs their drink and start playing Flip Cup. The first person to flip their cup gets to go first, second person goes second, etc. The game starts as soon as the player going first gets to a spot on the board, so go fast!
You progress to different spaces on the board in one of three ways:
1. The Count. The player yells “one, two, three” and all the players proceed to hold up a number between one and five with their fingers on their forehead. They player holding a number no one else has wins, and moves the number of stops that they held up on their forehead.
2. Complete a quote. The player will speak any quote or song lyric. Any other player that is able to complete the quote before the player finishes wins and can move 2 spaces with the person speaking the quote. If no one is able to finish the quote the player moves one space.
3. Something in Common. The player will yell two places, things or people. The first player that can name what the two items have in common wins and moves 3 places with the player whose turn it was. For example: Thomas Jefferson & George Washington = Presidents.
Every time a person makes it to the table, they must defeat a Red Coat by chugging the contents of the cup. I recommend filling the cups only 1/4 of the way if you’re playing with beer, trust me. After your cup is empty you will duct tape it to your other cups. The goal is to get 6 cups duct taped together to form a “Scepter of Liberty.” Once you’ve formed your Scepter you will drink the contents of the chalice, scream something about America being awesome, and smash King George with the Scepter. Usually, people will also smash most of the remaining “Red Coats” as well, so if you play I recommend using a garage, basement or outside where you don’t care if beer goes everywhere.
Since we were playing this game in the middle of a party, we also made a bonus rule that any spectators could yell “Give Me Liberty” and every one yells “Or Give Me Death” in return and gets to move to the table and defeat a red coat, aka chug. The spectator also has to chug whatever drink is in their hand.
To cut down on too much confusion and to keep the pace kind of quick, we also had a referee for the game, usually Jesse. This person keeps track of who’s turn it is and who gets to move how many spaces. This helped a lot because tipsy people standing on chairs aren’t the fastest thinkers.
I hope this makes sense to everyone, but if it doesn’t here’s a PDF for you to print off. I recommend printing off a couple so your guests can understand the game before playing too. We had a blast playing this game, and I hope you will do! Please let me know if you end up playing! I want to hear all about it!