Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the one making a private deck

One of our first priorities when moving into our new house was wanting to make our back deck a little more secluded and private. There's a gap in our trees by our deck and so we can see and hear cars pretty easily when we sat back there. It's a beautiful new deck so we wanted to make the most of it!

We had thought of a couple ways to do this - all ranging in price. Our first idea: some lattice & with vines growing up. Kinda like so:

Source: bhg.com via Natalie on Pinterest

I didn't ever love this idea because I thought the top would look awkward just ending all of a sudden, and I just worried it would look cheap, compared to our nice new deck. I also really liked the idea of having a partially covered deck, so I could sit outside in the rain :)

Of course a great option would be a screened-in porch. Beautiful....but wayyyyyy more expensive :)

Source: google.com via Nicole on Pinterest

My next idea was some sort of gazebo/tent...you can buy these for around $100 at Home Depot and Lowe's...and they're on sale right now at the end of the summer.

Source: bhg.com via Nicole on Pinterest

I loved the covered top & the price, but I didn't know if the point in the middle would look strange and out of place, being so different from our roof line. I also thought it would be too cheap-looking and would get worn out quickly.

So we ended up thinking that a pergola would be our ideal solution. Something like this...

Lo and behold...these puppies were over $1k easy...which was slightly  out of our price range (seeing as how we JUST bought a house :) ). We were ready to buy a cheap gazebo/tent for the temporary and just save up long term for a nicer pergola...when we stumbled upon this beauty ON SALE at Sears when we were buying our grill a couple weeks ago!

It was marked down at Sears to just over $300 (end of the summer - woo hoo!)... but  it was still a little higher than what we wanted to pay. We weren't quite ready to pull the trigger and we were worried it would look too cheap and be a more expensive short term solution. 

Later that week, Rob found it on even more sale online (!) so we decided to pull the trigger and just try it. We got it in a dark brown/bronze color.

Sarah came over two weeks ago on a Saturday morning and helped us assemble it... Here it is!

(Please excuse my bad quality iPhone pictures!) We decided to pull it all the way down on one side, since that was the side we were trying to make more private. It totally blocks our view of cars! It's so awesome!

We set up the chiminea one night at the edge of the pergola (don't worry - it's not underneath it at all...totally safe :) ). It was so so awesome to sit under the covering and watch the fire. It was even MORE awesome when the rain came and we could still sit (dry!) and enjoy the storm! Such a blessing!

While we were waiting for our fancy shmancy porch lights...we rigged up some Christmas lights :)

Then a couple days ago, we got my pretty lights!! I ordered them online from Target (cheaper + free shipping!) and I L.O.V.E. them! Rob strung them up for me...I'm one lucky girl :)

I'm loving it more and more each day - it's so so functional and beautiful. Eventually, we plan to add an outdoor rug, a table + chairs (basically an outdoor dining area), and CURTAINS! I'm so excited about the curtains :) So thankful for a place to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful summer nights!

Monday, July 30, 2012

the one with flowers

First flowers in our new home :) 

Beautiful flowers from Trader Joe's from my man! Love them!

Beautiful white roses from my momma!

the one featuring a new grill

A couple weeks ago, we got our first grill!! We were so excited and have been looking forward to this day probably since we got married :) I LOVE grilled food.

Rob was great - he did a bunch of research and read all the reviews to find the best, long-lasting grill for our money. We ended up with a Kenmore grill from Sears - it had the highest rating on Consumer Reports and it looked perfect for us.

Of course, I had to take pictures of our first grill-out. :)

Like a kid on Christmas...

What a beauty.

Beautiful chopped up vegetables

YUMMY grilled food! Chicken kabob with brown rice & grilled corn. SO good.

Here's to many more grilled meals to come!

Monday, July 23, 2012

the one powerwashing

One of the first things on our to-do list when we moved in - power washing the siding on our beautiful white home. Because it was vacant for a couple months before we bought it, it has a few things that just need a little lovin' to bring our home back to its former beauty :)

So my very selfless husband decided to power wash our whole house on his day off - after being out of town for two weeks straight! What a guy!

Here are some before pictures of the back of the house, where the mildew was the worst by far (it kinda hurts to share these because it was SO bad :) )

And here it is during process... Rob drew a little face so you could see the difference. Isn't it amazing?? Yay!

Fresh, clean & drying

Let me just show you that before & after one more time...
And here's a good picture to show you how clean our sidewalk/stoop is now that he power-washed that too! It looks incredible now - we had no idea how dirty it was before!
Beautiful clean front porch!

He even gave some new life to our sweet barrel! It looks even better now!

So thankful! Thanks, Rob!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

the one with our first reno

Our kitchen is a little bit crazy right now. We're having a very small renovation/repair done as part of the move-in process. We got some money for a few repairs in the closing negotiations- most of it we used to update the electrical and get it all up to code & safe. You can't see it but we are so glad we did it.

But we also have a few little renovations/repairs getting done that you can see! The main one is that we are getting the microwave raised and putting in smaller cabinets above to adjust for the change in height. Our microwave was wayyyy too close to the stove/oven and was not safe at all.

Check 'er out. You can't even fully see it in this picture but it was very obvious in person. It was one of the first things our realtor noticed when walking into the kitchen.

And here's how it's currently looking :)

The best part? We got to see a peak of the old flooring when they moved the oven out (to add another safety feature - the anti-tipping bracket)...Do you think those floors will ever come back into style? :) Yeah, me neither.

What a beauty :)

We also are getting some new windows in the sunroom where the seal is broken and so they are all foggy. And then some other "cant really see them to appreciate them" updates - some insulation was upside down, one patch of siding on the house, and some other odds & ends. I'm really glad we are getting it all done but I'm obviously most excited about the microwave! 

Next week - some progress outside! Rob has been working hard this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

the one about our neighborhood

I've talked all about our house - all the things we love about it, making it home, getting settled, etc. But one of the most important factors in our new home is it's location. As you can remember, we moved to this specific area and neighborhood as a means of ministry. We were looking for a place to move where it would be just outside our comfort zone, around people that are very different from us for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. It was a long process, going back and forth, trying to find the right fit/situation for us specifically. We prayed for months and months about where exactly the Lord was calling us.

So did we find the right neighborhood? From what we can tell so far - 100% yes. I can't explain to you how blessed I feel to be living where we are. Almost everyone around us looks, talks, acts, lives differently than we do. And yet I feel like we are connecting with them. Praise God! We are in an area with a much higher crime rate than where we've lived in the past (as evidenced by our super fancy alarm system), and yet I feel safe and at home here. I just feel like we fit here. And it is totally because of the grace of God!

In all the chaos of getting settled in our new home, I just wanted to take minute to remind myself why we moved here in the first place. Connecting with and loving our neighbors is of first importance. It's what the Lord has called us to do.

So in these next few months, we are trying to find a healthy balance between being intentional and then not feeling the pressure to go outside and talk to people every time we see someone walking by :) Relationships are not built overnight and we can't expect to be best friends with everyone immediately - it's a slow and steady process. We want to be available and accessible but also not feel guilty every minute that we are home and not meeting someone new. 

We have some ideas of ways we can connect - being in our front yard more (thanks, B, for the suggestion!), going on neighborhood walks, inviting people we've met in the neighborhood over for dinner, etc. Right now, I'm trying to steer away from going around and giving people things (cookies, candy, etc.) - we just don't want to seem like the charitable white people swooping into the neighborhood to save the day. We want to connect with them in ways that are natural and comfortable to them. If you have any other creative ideas of how to connect with & love your neighbors, I'd love to hear them! 

Thanks to those of you who have been lifting us up in prayer and supporting us through this process! We are so grateful for your partnership in the Gospel!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the one bringing light

It's passages like this one below that pull my attention off of myself... and make me love Jesus even more. So thankful...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the one starting with the guest room

We haven't done much to make any permanent changes in our new home yet... I just want to take it slow and not pressure myself to get it all done immediately. I also want to make sure that we live with things the way they are for a little bit so we know better what we need and come up with long-term solutions, instead of buying quick, cheap things. I just find that I always make better long-lasting decisions when I don't jump into it and buy the first thing I see :)

That being said...we have made some changes to one room - our guest bedroom. We've already had two people stay with us and so we I wanted to make sure they had a pretty room to sleep in. It's a work in progress but I'm really happy with how it's coming together.

Here's a breakdown of what we've done so far...

-my old queen-sized beautiful white bed
-my Grammy's old sewing machine table & chair
-bedside table (previously from our master bedroom in our apartment)
-my parents' long dresser (previously from our master bedroom) *Note - we originally had this on the wall under the window but found that it made the room look really crowded. It's amazing how just moving the dresser across the room to the other wall made the room feel and look much more open.*

-Guest bedroom tray (bought from Goodwill for our wedding and painted)
-Towels & little travel-sized extras (lotion, shampoo, toothbrush, soap, etc.)
-Hung our Pier 1 white linen curtains (previously from our master bedroom)
-Pottery Barn large clock (bought off Craigslist for our wedding)
-Little blue lamp (previously from our kitchen)
-Curtain rod & holders - left by previous owners!
-Two twin pillows

-New white bedding from Target with two new twin pillows
-New white cotton sheets from Target

My vision for this room is for all the linens to be completely white, and then to paint the walls to bring out the beautiful white contrast. I've already bought the paint and I cannot wait to paint those walls and see the room change! Obviously the green window dressing on top needs to be recovered in pretty white fabric :) But other than that, it was a very easy transformation!

Y'all dig my wrinkled bedding? :) This was about 5 minutes after I put it on the bed, straight out of the packaging. Maybe I need to start ironing new bedding? Ha!

Love this bedding...love the lace and ruffles.

Dresser with little guest kit...

Little sewing table that was my Grammy's... it has my jewelry on it too for now

I love this room because it has such beautiful natural light from the big windows. I love how small it is -  it is so cozy!

Still to do in this room (eventually...remember I am in no rush) :
-Paint the walls a beautiful color (!!)
-Recover the green window dressing (official name - "cornice")
-Repaint guest bedroom tray
-Add some wall art/decor
-Add some candles
-Add prettier books to the side table
-Replace doors with white doors (or paint current wood doors white)

Any suggestions for what kind of fabric we should use to cover the green cornice? Our curtains are linen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

the one with our first summer night

Some pictures from a few weeks ago...These were all from our first day in our new home... such bliss :)

First quiet time in our new home...

First time using our chiminea

Celebrating the Lord's goodness to us! 

Beautiful new sky from the homestead

Monday, July 2, 2012

the one unplugged

Taking a break this week from technology :) be back in a week! In the meantime, I leave you with this...