Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekend Notes: Making Our Home

Ben will tell you, I’m not one for relaxing. I’m happier in go-mode, running around until my body just about forces me still. This past weekend, he seemed in a similar spirit, so we took advantage of it and Got Stuff Done. Yeah, capitalized Got Stuff Done. Soon there won’t be much left to do and then I’m really gonna struggle. Here’s how the weekend went:

Behind the couch table
Thanks to my AM crafting technique, this long skinny table was done when Saturday morning rolled around. It matches the coffee table in stain and legs and makes the room feel really cohesive. Also, our couch isn’t floating in the middle of the room anymore, and that’s a win in itself.

Revised deck set
Our deck set was made of mismatched hand-me-down forest green chairs and a bought-on-super-discount white iron table (see here). I’d been dying to spray paint it all to match, but Ben always reeled me in and said that was not an apartment project. Welp, there’s no apartment in sight, so here’s my project. We have a lot of bright colors going on inside the house, so I wanted a nice bright color outside, too. This blue felt like it would play off the reddish deck well.

Paint—and the last of it, too
The dining room and kitchen are the only two rooms in the house that we haven’t painted yet (minus the bathroom which we’re not repainting). Seeing these two stand alone outside our color scheme has been like a bad itch we’ve both wanted to scratch. So we scratched. Just the ceiling, trim and floating cabinet have been painted so far. You can tell from the photo how dingy the wall color is in comparison to our white trim. Ack.

Spring maintenance
Our backyard is small, but was crying out for some love. I spent a little time getting the sticks and leaves out of the flower beds and tilling the garden along the side of the house. Do I know what I’m doing? Nope! But it appears as though Mother Nature does—we already have quite a few budding something-or-others. We also have a half painted fence, but that’s a project for another weekend.

If you’ve been here before, you’re hardly going to recognize the place when you come back. If you haven’t, hopefully these posts will give you a base line of comparison for when you visit. We’ve been working hard, having fun and making this little place totally our own.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Birthday Burgers

For my birthday this year, Ben signed us up for a burger making class at the Downtown Market. I could live in that market. I’ve ooh’ed and ahh’ed over every vendor 1,000 times already but I don’t care! It’s local food! It’s community at its finest! It’s delicious!

Anyway, the burgers.

Our class was taught by a Downtown Market chef (same guy who taught our pasta making class) and co-hosted by the owner of the market’s meat vendor, Montello’s.

We got a tour of the meat shop (hello hanging pigs) and then made four sliders from scratch using goat, beef, sausage (!) and turkey.

It was pretty wild to see, feel and taste the difference in using local meet taken care of vs. bloody grocery store meat. It was also fun to learn how to play up the natural flavors of different meats with spices and toppings.

My favorite was the goat burger topped with fresh feta cheese, sprouts and curry aioli. Ben drooled over the sausage burger stuffed with local cheddar cheese and topped with sautéed bell pepper and onion.

Great, now I’m hungry.

We’ve been busy with house projects, busy with work projects and busy with wedding projects, so a night out to follow instruction from someone else was just what the doctor ordered. Happy burger birthday to me.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wedding Planning - Two Months Out

“No one will know what you don’t have at your wedding”. This was really good advice given to me by a good friend super early on in my planning process.

Of course it would be noticeable if you didn’t secure an officiant or decided not to serve a meal, but the point is no one is going to walk away in a tizzy because you didn’t have fabric chair covers matching your color scheme.

All the big, noticeable stuff has been done for months, and I’m so relieved. February and March have been incredibly inconvenient months for wedding planning due to a big, gigantic work project I’ve taken extra responsibility on.

What I do have left are little, management details that help me decompress from work and make me excited for May to arrive. Stuff like:

Making our cake toppers
I found one I liked online for $60, then I found I could buy the pieces for it and do it myself for $4. With the supplies in hand and one episode of The Walking Dead, our toppers were done.

Shopping for attendant gifts
Ben and I made an afternoon out of this and now have a little army of gift bags lined up to show for it.

Designing ceremony programs
My mom and sister (MOH) edited the text for me, and my pal/bridesmaid Elena is working on the design. Not only was this a project I could roll off my plate, but Elena’s design skills school mine anyway.

Vows and Things
Our ceremony text has been finalized, which not only feels good to have complete, but feels like we’re really going to have the day and ceremony that we wanted. There are a few accessories for the ceremony I still need, but nothing a little spin on Amazon can’t solve.

Thank Yous
Just a little forecasting here, but with two showers coming up next month and the wedding after that, I felt like a restock of the thank-you-card arsenal was in order. I had a big stack printed to match our invites and ordered envelopes online. It’s nice to know post-shower and post-wedding this won’t be a stresser for me.

What else is left? Weekend yoga, long walks exploring the neighborhood, a couple weekends of house projects. All of that goes a long way in keeping me happy, healthy and geared up for May.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bring on the Coffee

Remember that coffee table building project I mentioned? Project complete!

We had some spruce cut to size at Lowe's, then sanded, stained, sealed and screwed in a set of metal hairpin legs I found online from a company that hand makes them in Colorado.

It's simple, modern, and just what I was looking for and having a heck of a time finding (for my price range, mind you). We did it all ourselves for under $60 making for two thrifty, happy and crafty homeowners.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend Notes: Country

I love northern Michigan so much. I could move there, life off the land, wear only organic cotton clothes and go to Sunday yoga classes with my husband—just like the husband/wife team next to me at my Sunday morning drop-in yoga class. Get ready for a retirement full of pigeon pose, Ben.

I dropped in to a new-to-me yoga studio up north since we were in Petoskey with Andy and Ashley and I couldn't make my normal class. Our quick trip was great; we relaxed, worked out, watched MSU basketball, drank beer and didn't even let some snow flurries bother us. Saturday night we played Settlers at a local brewery. Even the pace of the game seemed to be on up north time (read: slowww). But hey! It's up north, what's the rush?

When we got back to Grand Rapids on Sunday, I ditched Ben for a Miranda Lambert concert with my work friend Ashley. Is “ditched” the correct term if the person you leave behind would rather tackle home improvement projects then listen to songs about beer drinking and truck driving? Anyway, it was a great show, especially the opening acts (Justin Moore and Jukebox Mafia). Of course Miranda wasn’t too shabby herself.

Today it’s back to work and back to normal life; though another day at work means another day closer to my up north yogi retirement, right?