Sunday, October 12, 2014

Projects: Exterior Painting - Phase One

Phew! We just finished the first phase of what's probably going to go down as my favorite house project we've done to date. Operation: kill vine and paint house is under way.

This is what our house looked like before we purchased it. You'll see there's a huge vine growing up the side of the house. While it may look pretty, it was really not good for our house. This vine was vicious.

So, a few months ago, we chopped the vine near the roots and started to kill it. After a month or so, the whole vine was nice and dead. Honestly, taking it off the house didn't take that much work. Luckily it came off in chunks.

The big task was chipping off any loose paint over and above what the vine took off the siding and sanding it down.


The vine wasn't only on the front, it was on the back as well. I understand how pretty it was, but it wasn't going to be good long term.

Before

After prepping both surfaces, we got to work. We went to our favorite place, Sherwin Williams, and picked up a gallon of Duration paint. This exterior paint has primer in it, so you don't have to paint in steps. It saved a ton of headache.

Progress

Progress


I'm so happy with the results. Next up will be match up the trim and painting the front and back pieces.

After

After

We thought this project would be super overwhelming, but it only took about an hour or so to do both places. We're very pleased with the results!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chicago - A Wrap-up

It's been long enough - I need to tell you guys about our trip to Chicago.

It started out exciting enough, with flight delays because our flights in and out of Atlanta were stopped because of Air Force One landing. We had to circle around Birmingham before coming in and then we got stuck on the tarmac in ATL coming out. I did sneak a peak of AFO taking off right next to our plane...


By the time we saw the shoreline of downtown Chicago, we were very happy to be done with planes for the day. We were traveling from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.


 It may be hard to tell, but Paul cleaned his plate at a local Thai place near our hotel that had some amazing yellow curry dishes. He even went back the second day to get it again while I was in my conference!


 Did we do some touristy things in between my conference? A little bit, I would say. We had to get our "We're at the Bean" shot in Millennium Park.


 And, of course, we had to eat deep dish pizza. So good!


We also found out that there would be an awards ceremony for the arts in Chicago while we were there with lots of music and performances, so we went and listened for a while after dinner.


 One night, we also went up to the top of Hancock Tower for a drink and a view (truly, the only way to really do a skyline view of Chicago). They charge you $18 to see a 360 degree view from the top OR you can just go to the bar one floor down for free and have a drink. We think we got the better end of the deal. 


 It's official: I need one of these in my life. This place was called Naansense and is such a smart and fast concept.


 We also took a boat tour of the river and lake. Probably one of the highlights of the trip!


 I also told Paul we had to visit Wicker Park. It didn't disappoint.


 After more crazy flight schedules (we literally were seconds from them closing the boards on our plane when we were running down the terminal in ATL), we finally made it home super late. I had never been so happy to see my own bed!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chicago

 Oof. I am glad to be home! We had some pretty eventful and stressful traveling this trip. I couldn't have been more grateful for my own bed late last night. After delays and tight schedules, we literally were running to our connecting flight last night through the Atlanta airport. I did things I never thought I'd have to do, like run with a rolling suitcase down escalators! We were running down our terminal waving our hands when they were calling the last boarding call. I still don't know how we made it home. It was the last flight of the night and we were going to be stuck sleeping in the airport or in a hotel.


I'll post a wrap up soon, but I'll leave you with this photo from the lake/river tour we took while in Chicago. This was in the lock as we switched from the Chicago River to Lake Michigan.


Happy weekend, folks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Project: DIY Tote Bag Fabric Painting

A few weeks ago, I found a great haul at our local thrift store. They had recently had some flooding from a clogged storm drain and happened to be selling everything for an additional 50% off. Lucky me! One of my favorite things I found was a roomy tote bag with great front pockets for only $1.25. 

After coming home and thinking about it, I decided to search for a cool stencil. I found an old stencil on Etsy and it was at my door a few days later. I also snagged some fabric paint from the local craft store for $1.79.


Per the paint instructions, I washed and ironed the tote bag. Then, per directions, I put cardboard in each of the pockets behind where I would be painting. After taping the stencil down, I got to work!


While I didn't completely get the clean lines I had in my mind, I was able to get one of my fine paint brushes and straighten up the edges.


Very happy with how it came out!


Can't wait to use it as an overnight bag or maybe a tote for school. Happy DIY'ing!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sweet Potato Slider Melts

The other week, my friend Sital sent me a recipe I knew I had to try - Sweet Potato Slider Melts. You can find the original recipe here. After talking through some things she would change and modifying it, I thought I'd share it with you guys. With even a little more tweaking, I'd definitely do this again!


First, I cut up my sweet potatoes and put them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes per side. Next time, I'd cook them even more, or potentially cook a potato whole and cut it after it was mostly cooked, but still firm.


After they were done, I put half of the slices down on a pan and put one slice of cheese on the bottom. Note to self: if you have a silpat mat, I would use it!


Layer with turkey and more cheese. For mine, I did add the spinach, uncooked.


Top with BBQ sauce


Add the second sweet potato slice and skewer. Since everything with mine was on a smaller scale than the original recipe, I used toothpicks.


These were pretty fabulous! Both of us were really happy with the result. The potato was still a little al dente, but it wasn't that bad. If you do put the cheese on the bottom, you will probably have some pooling and browning of cheese like we had.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September

How is it halfway through September? Time is flying by!

Last weekend we all got together for Brody's first birthday party! We all crowded around and loved seeing him eat his birthday cupcake, getting an icing mustache.


 That afternoon, we also headed to the Ag Museum for Celtic Fest. Happy campers with shepherd's pie and some Sweetwater Blue!


 I've also been working a good bit, but sometimes I don't mind. This past Tuesday we had Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin (a couple and both writers) on campus for the Arts & Lecture Series. It was great hearing about their writing processes, especially since they just wrote a book together. It's fun for me to see how other couples work together and comparing it to how Paul and I work together on the magazine.


 I was also excited to see my new custom coordinates cuff in the mail from Daydreamer Jewelry Co. You give them an address you want mapped and for a little extra you can add initials on the ends. I decided to go with Fondren Corner, since that's where our first place was together, where we got engaged and is pretty much the heart of the neighborhood.


 This is what my Saturday looked like:


Jealous, I know. I'm currently in a graduate certificate program where I work called the Business Advantage Program. It's only a semester long, but, man, I've learned so much already. The title may sound boring, but I really learned a lot. Luckily, this should be the only Saturday class we have. Our usual schedule is only two nights a week.

We're being teased with fall weather this weekend and KT was ready to go outside. I hate seeing all the mosquitos swarm around her, but we had sprayed an organic bug repellant on the yard, so it was nice outside.


 We enjoyed a nice evening on the patio. Cathead Vodka lemonades with mint from the backyard didn't hurt!


Happy weekend, guys!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Man, this Labor Day weekend has been much needed! With school starting back with work, our magazine going to press and going to night classes myself (for a certificate program I'm work on), I feel like my free time is precious!

This weekend was all about doing whatever we wanted. For me, after breakfast on Saturday, it was about off loading the donation bags I've had piling up and taking a peek at my favorite thrift store's 50% off sale. I got some great stuff for only $15! I've got a fun project coming up with the canvas bag.

 

I loved all these colorful books to add to my collection, especially with all of our bookshelves we have around the house. KT was happy to oversee book distribution.


 My mother-in-law also gave me this great tray this weekend that matches a larger platter and ice bucket we have. Such a sweet surprise!


Earlier this morning we also caught up with our friend Scott, who's working on a mural project in the neighborhood. Love seeing more public art pop up just down the street.


Hope everyone else has had a great long weekend!

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