Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Map Gifts, That Ish Cray


Posted by Michael, January 4th, 2012

Rebecca and I randomly exchange gifts for Christmas; some years we do, some we don’t.  When I asked Rebecca if we were exchanging this year, the conversation started as a no and then moved onto ‘how about something small?’ We agreed and I started to panic because I’m the spender of the family so keeping gifts a minimum was going to be difficult.  But then I thought about the gallery wall we’ve been planning for months now — and how we have tons of frames but nothing to put inside them.  Instant gift!  Some framed things!  That ish cray!

Thank you Kanye for introducing a new word into my vocabulary.  I love the unofficial video below by the way; check it at about a minute and 15 seconds in.

The first idea that popped in my head was to find maps of old locations that are special to us and frame them.  I shot some texts and emails out looking for old vintage maps.  Nope, no one had anything of value.  I ran to a couple of stores like Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart.  They all had great map selections, but they were very road centric for driving and trip planning. I was stumped as to what to do.

A few days passed and I was on Google Maps looking for directions; and it hit me!  Google Maps!  I quickly took screenshots of the areas I wanted, enhanced them in Photoshop and sent them off to be printed on 4×6 matte finish paper.

First up, Old Bridge High School, where we met and essentially grew up.  We met in math class while I was a senior and Rebecca was a junior.  I used to copy off of her.  We stayed friends while we went off to college, mainly chatting online, and didn’t start dating until 2003.

Next up is the pier in Deerfield Beach, Florida, or that little stick jetting into the blue area in the map above.  My parents have a small home just miles from the pier and we often use it as a means of a cheap, but fantastic, vacation.  We absolutely love it down there, so when I was ring shopping, I knew I wanted to propose to Rebecca on the pier.  We took a night time walk on the pier — a perfect time, right?  Nope.  You see little did I know that at the end of this pier were people fishing.  As we were approaching the end, the stench of raw fish was just everywhere.  So we turned around and headed back towards the beach.  We stopped about halfway (that’s why the pin is in the middle) to enjoy the views, to talk and that’s when I asked Rebecca to marry me.  She said yes and I quickly put the ring on it (I still hate you, Beyonce).

And then Rebecca asked if we could go get ice cream.  A perfect match.

The last map is a farm where we got married.  We got married at a Bed & Breakfast that sat on preserved farmland.  It was absolutely amazing.  We get to pass the farm quite often and because of this, we often get the chance to talk about our wedding.

They still haven’t made their way on the walls (surprise!) but I know they will shortly. Picking areas to map was easy, but I had tens – if not hundreds – of areas I could have used.  It was fun getting the chance to think back to all the memories and adventures we’ve had and narrowing it down to just three.

But how about you?  Have any great areas you’d like to map and frame?


A Christmas Bathroom


Posted by Rebecca, December 21st, 2011

Remember back when we painted our powder room? Well, we pretty much left it with our last update of just hanging a mirror and some shelves. Literally days after we painted, morning sickness kicked in and I lost all motivation to finish the room (we even still have touch ups to do). Considering I’m hosting a work Christmas party tomorrow and we’re hosting Christmas Eve on Saturday, I figured it was time to AT LEAST get a toilet paper holder.

I hoped to paint some artwork for the room this weekend, but that didn’t happen. So while in Target a few days ago I saw something red and had a revelation. I decided to use red accents in the room for Christmas. The year round plan was aqua (you can read about that inspiration here), but I figured since all of our Christmas decor is blue and green, I’d change it up with some red and silver in the powder room.

I began to pick up some things around Target and yes, it killed me that I was paying full price. I don’t think I have ever paid full price for anything Christmas related, as I usually just buy stuff as I see it marked down on like Christmas Eve or after Christmas. But in the end, it was worth it.

We decided to put the towel ring between the toilet and sink. Previously, we had a cheap towel bar all the way across the room, so you would wash your hands, then proceed to drip water all over the hardwood floors to get to a towel which was to the left of the toilet the picture above. I used some seasonal soap in a red bottle (which you can’t see in the pictures, sorry the room is small) and a candy cane scented candle.

On the shelves I put 2 red candle stick holders that I got from Target. I have the same ones from last year in silver and blue (which I of course didn’t pay full price for but these I did, grr). I didn’t put candles on them because a) I couldn’t reach b) my ankles were already swollen from buying gifts all day and c) I don’t plan to light the candles so why put them up there? I’ll save the candles for some of my other candle holders this year 🙂

Besides the standards of spare towels and t.p., you’ll notice that my pencil eraser “S” monogram has moved into the bathroom. Since our tree is in the entryway, the entryway table got moved into the living room on the side of the stairs. The monogram was teetering dangerously in a easy-for-cat-to-break zone, so I figured it was best to move it.

Okay these next elements were really hard to photograph because of the size of the room, I basically had to sit in the sink.

I hung two Ikea frames that we’ve been collecting to eventually make a gallery wall in our entryway. They are directly across from the toilet and on the wall next to the toilet.

Since I have a variety of white frames, I tried some larger ones but decided to go with this size. The larger one looked great across from the toilet, but was overwhelmingly dramatic when opening the door. Inside I put some wrapping paper, also from Target. It’s the foil-y shiny kind.

It’s very hard to capture how the metallic paper looks with the dark paint, but I love it.

I like the patterned wrapping paper so much that I’m debating whether or not to make my own prints for the room or just buy some non-holiday paper to frame for the long run. I’m loving the red also and thinking of picking up some clearance red items next week for the rest of the house next year. Since it’s going to be the baby’s first Christmas next year (a baby whose gender we now know :)), I want to go with a colorful and bright color scheme. Red, green and aqua it may be, so might as well stock up now!

The Tree 2011


Posted by Rebecca, December 19th, 2011

Do you know how many times per day I nearly write 2012? Everything I’ve been doing lately at work or thanks to baby has involved 2012, so my mind already thinks it’s here. But anyway, Mike and I finally got around to putting up our tree on Saturday. And that’s as far as we got with decorating.

We kept it simple and used the same teal/green/silver/gray-blue color scheme as last year. Next year I want to change it up a bit, but since I had a couple of final papers to write this weekend, simple was key.

I even still wrapped the banister in the same ribbon that I used last year. I’ve always wanted some lighted garland to hang and I considered buying some this year, but yeah, it was December 18th and I was trying to get a tree up. Once again, simple was key this year.

But! You may notice that I changed up the tree skirt this year!

It’s just 2 yards of fabric that I picked up at Joann wrapped around the tree stand. I was never a fan of our previous skirt, which was a blue velvety thing with some embroidered snowflakes on it. I bought it when we lived in our condo because it was the only blue or silver skirt I could find. The problem was that it was dry clean only and attracted some serious cat hair. Considering that Darwin loves sleeping under the tree, it never looked good. So i decided to look for some cotton fabric that would be easy to wash and would have a little more style. I might eventually sew the ends or make it a tree skirt, but for now it works perfectly fine.

Our tree got wet during Hurricane Irene and we were so relieved when it actually worked. Considering we just bought this 9 foot guy last year, I would have been seriously annoyed if we only got one year out of the first artificial tree we’ve ever had.

I guess the pictures kind of speak for themselves at this point, so here’s a bunch. Ps- Bonus points for the person who notices Macky’s butt….

Last year I had done some serious crafting and shopping for Christmas accessories by this point. This year is all about survival. I’m taking the day off from work on Wednesday and will hopefully finish decorating then. Our outside is not decorated, nor is the mantel… or dining room. I’m going for a minimalist look this year, even if its unintentional 🙂

ps- I just turned in my final graduate school paper ever! Now I just need to make it through class tomorrow night and I’m done!! 😀

Christmas Wish List 2011


Posted by Rebecca, December 15th, 2011

Last year we made a list of things the house would ask Santa for, if House Santa existed (we all know that regular old Santa exists!) We still haven’t decorated anything around here since Mike was sick this past weekend and I’m still working on school stuff. In fact, Christmas is 10 days away and I still have no clue what I want (I just asked my family for gift cards). Totally unprepared this year, but of course, we could always use things to work on this house! 🙂

Here’s our budget-less wishlist for this year:

1. A table saw


For all of the things we want to build around here, our little circular saw isn’t going to cut it (no pun intended). We want some bookcases and a bench in the new office, as well as a built-in bench wedged in the bay window of the new playroom.

2. Headphones Rug from Pottery Barn Teen

How awesome is this? And how appropriate would it be in our office (aka- SongMeanings/Lil House Headquarters)? I feel like we need to find somewhere to put this…

3. Kreg Jig


All of those things we want to build in #1? Well this thing would surely come in handy for some of them!

4. A maid.


Come on, there’s an unlimited budget with this list and with everything going on, House needs a cleaning! Also if the maid could fold that basket of laundry that’s been hanging around since Sunday, that would be fabulous…

5. Ikea Ekenas Chair

This list wouldn’t be complete without some Ikea! We spotted this chair in person in the gray-brown color a few weeks ago and I immediately liked it. We’re hoping to get one for the nursery, more about that decision another day 🙂

6. Horses


Okay not that type of horses, I mean these ones…


Yeah we want a lot of tools since we don’t have much to make the bookcases and such we plan to. But back to that first horse picture! Our house is supposedly built on a former horse farm (evidenced by the old fence at our property line). Maybe 5 houses down, the property that backs those houses is STILL a horse farm so they have horses in their backyards! Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever really met a horse, but I love animals and I want a horse… or two… or five.

7. Million Dollar Baby Crib

I’ve been researching for a solid wood crib with a non-toxic finish, which is sadly hard to find. Then I discovered Million Dollar Baby, which makes solid wood cribs that not only meet, but exceed all federal regulations. The picture is the Annabelle crib, which I love, but we’re still planning on taking a trip to Delaware to check them out when we have more time.

8. Dremel Saw-Max

Okay I admit to having no specific reason for wanting this other than I saw the commercial and it looks awesome! I mean, a pregnant woman who wants a table saw for Christmas is a little weird, but a pregnant woman who wants this nice little handheld saw? Still weird, but slightly less.

It’s strange that I can’t really think of any more decor items I want. Most of the things on our makeover list to-do list include using things we already have, hanging some frames and pictures and lots and lots of molding! Other than the nursery furniture (which is still so up in the air), we’re looking a little DIY heavy around here as opposed to decor heavy. But that’s okay, Santa likes tools too, right? 🙂

ps- in case you were curious as to what we’ve checked off our last year’s list, here’s an update…

  1. Delta Pilar Touch 2O Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet
  2. Nail gun
  3. Dash & Albert area rug …We bought a green Ikea rug instead
  4. A king sized mattress…Still desperately want/need more than ever now!
  5. Large White Drum Pendant Light…Still want (entryway brass is still hanging..)!
  6. Tool bench/storage…Still want (we have no where to put the tools on this list)!
  7. Some Apple Art… Still want!
  8. Snowblower
  9. Ikea Mongstad Mirror  Though we still haven’t put it in our bedroom!
  10. Custom paintings from Dog House Pet Portraits

Happy Thanksgiving


Posted by Rebecca, November 23rd, 2011

Last year I did some table decorating for Thanksgiving… the day before. I figured, why break tradition! So today, I once again decorated our table using most of the same materials (hey, I only own one set of placemats and napkins). This year I was without the apples and pumpkins, plus it has been raining for two days so my plan to collect some sticks and leaves instead was foiled. I was able to whip up a little something with what we had on hand 🙂

When we went grocery shopping yesterday I picked up some flowers in pretty fall colors. They look much more pink in the pictures, but they’re really red, orange and yellow. I figured they would add some much needed color to the table.

I used the same ramie runner from Target last year and the placemats and napkins are also from Target. No, I did not iron the placemats, obviously. I did this at about 8:00 tonight with a very curious Macky trying to attack my flowers. I don’t think our parents are going to mind the creases tomorrow. Or I might even just throw down our brown table cloth, which definitely has to be done while Macky is sleeping since he thinks that anytime a clean piece of cloth goes on a flat surface, it means the bed is made. We seriously cannot get sheets on our bed without wrestling with him because he wants to live under each layer…

I put some pine cones and some leftover sticks from last year scattered on the runner to keep the earthy, fall thing going. I also tied a little piece of twine around my bundles of daisies to more easily arrange them and make them slightly more rustic.

The twine was leftover from our wedding and I wish it was a little thicker. I didn’t have to tie the flowers in the rose bowl because well, the bowl kind of shapes them for me 🙂

Probably my favorite addition this year are these West Elm napkins I picked up a while ago. I liked the bright white on the table so much that I added a square appetizer plate to each setting (which have no utensils and glasses because well, I’m lazy)

Makes me want a white runner or placemats or something…

I couldn’t fuss over the table for too long though, because we have lots of cooking to do 🙂

Computer printouts=modern day cookbooks….

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it involves no fuss, no pressure to shop for a month and just good food and good people 🙂 Plus we have a lot to be thankful for this year. This summer, we honestly thought that once the holidays rolled around, we’d be just a family of 4. Little did we know that Darwin would be a miracle kitty and the baby in the belly would bring our family headcount up to 6. Plus, I’m thankful to have a husband that texts me things like this…

Mike: I think we need to paint the powder room ceiling bold and add some crown.

Me: You mean gray?

Mike: No…. I’m thinking an accent color… like a pale aqua.

And with that, I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

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