breaking news (and a house tour!)

It’s official:

As of today, our house is on the market. I’ll go into more detail later, but just to answer a few questions: 1)yes, we have been planning on this 2)no, we don’t have a bun in the oven 3)yes, we are planning on staying in the area

For now, I’ll leave you with a little tour of our humble abode:


I know I’m a little bit biased, but I’m a big fan of this house. We’ve been so blessed to spend the past two years here!

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another one bites the dust

Last week, our vacuum bit the dust. Figuratively, not literally.

It wasn’t that old, but unfortunately it didn’t come with a warranty, and its demise did come at a bad time, so my husband quickly got to work finding us a new one. After some online research and input from the expert vacuumer in the house (I liked that our previous one worked on both hardwoods and carpets, and frequently used the hose and attachments), he decided on this one (a Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Bagless Rewind Upright) from Wal-Mart. You may think he bought it for the concise name, but it was really because the reviews looked solid, and it included all my requests plus a few other handy features.

The verdict:

I’m definitely pleased. The price was reasonable and, so far, it has worked really well. It’s significantly lighter, quieter, and stronger than our old model, and the automatic cord rewind feature kind of blows my mind. Such an obvious, wonderful solution. I enjoyed taking it for a “test drive” and seeing what kind of grossness our house was able to amass in its vacuumless state. We’ve been in deep cleaning mode for the past couple of weeks, so this little guy arrived just in time!

pillows with cording and zippers

Each summer, I try to tackle one project that has pretty much scared me to death. Two years ago I attempted to make my own quilt, and last summer I reupholstered a pair of chairs. So far, I’m a big fan of this “tackle one scary thing each summer” method. I have more time to think through things and try again if I mess up, and it breaks up daunting tasks into more manageable chunks.

Since things are pretty crazy around here this summer (I’ll share more details later), I opted for a smaller (but still scary) project: making pillows with coordinating piping and zippers.

I’ve made my own pillow covers several times before- some with zippers, some with envelope closures, but I wasn’t completely happy with how they looked, and the fact that people would instantly ask, “Did you make these?” drove me a little bit crazy.

Since our winter pillows in the living room were in need of a change, I decided to start with those.

First, I chose a fabric. I had been planning on incorporating black and white chevron into the living room via either pillows or a rug, because I liked how the bold, graphic pattern would stand out. However, when I starting browsing online and found this, I was kind of in love. The colors were exactly what we have in the living room, and it was a much softer version of what I had been planning.

So, I put it to a vote. The Angle girls were here visiting, so they all got to chime in. There ended up being a tie, but since Zach voted for blue and I’m in love with him, blue won. So glad it did.

The fabric is a great weight- sturdy, but not too thick, with a little bit of rough texture to it, and the natural stripes are basically the exact color of our sofa. Plus, the price was definitely something I could be happy about.

After doing my happy dance over the fabric, I finally bit the bullet and got to work. I started with making the cording- about a 7 on the “I’m super scared to sew this” scale. Thankfully, I used this amazing tutorial, and it was really pretty simple.

I used another tutorial from the same site to attach the cording. *I will say this: I am normally not a pinner (I’m a rebel like that), but I pinned like crazy on this project, and I think it really helped.

Although I’ve done zippers before, I was a little less confident dealing with piping and a zipper, so I used this (with a few of my own modifications) to coach me through it.

Yep, I’m starting to think that blogs are the best thing to happen to visual learners since…glasses.

And the final product…

 

The end result may not be perfect, but I was so excited to make pillows that looked more custom and professional than what we had previously been using. I’m still a fan of the envelope method for fast, easy knife-edge pillows, but I’m so happy to know that I’m capable of doing something like this. The other pillows in our house better watch out.

 

secondhand finds: lately

Even though we haven’t been to many yard sales recently, there have been a few things I’ve managed to scoop up, so I thought I’d do a little update.

This glass straw holder just makes me think of summer. Images of filling it with pretty paper straws and hosting cookouts on the deck dance through my head. In the meantime, I’m loving it as a fun, convenient place to store colored pencils.

I’ve been sort of on the hunt for a rug lately (more details to come), so when I saw an ad on Craigslist for a few Pottery Barn rugs to be sold at a yard sale, I decided to stop by. When I got there, I was a little bit disappointed and really excited. Disappointed because they didn’t really work in the room I’m looking to update, but super excited because they were such  great deal! For $75, I got a 5×8 area rug, 2.5×9 runner, and 3×5 accent rug, all of which I possibly sold on Craigslist to save up for a rug that will work. (Side note: I actually really liked all of them, which gave me the guts to attempt the flip. If we had ended up being “stuck” with them, I still would have been happy.) Here’s a quick shot of the area rug before it left to its new home:

At the same yard sale, I also scooped up this neat (and heavy!) Pottery Barn vase (no plans to sell it on Craigslist).

Last but not least, is this fun enamel tub.

I have a few of these in different shapes and sizes around the house, and I kind of love them. This one was $6, and I like that it can be used for drinks, as a plant stand, just to prettify things, or for taking pictures of my sweet niece (we put it to use this week, and I can personally attest to the cuteness factor of that last one!)

my favorite farmer

Tis the season for garden veggies!

We tried our hand (ok, Zach tried) at having a garden last summer and, even though we did get a decent return (and waaay too many Habanero peppers), the results were less than stellar. My green thumb husband decided that it was most likely due to the soil (we tried just doing topsoil), so this year we added a little plant food to the mix.

I am pleased to report that the change has paid off, and we have gotten to start harvesting some delicious goodies! So far, cucumbers and herbs are the only things that are ready, but tomatoes and squash are right around the corner.

It has been so much fun to see things sprout up. We’re looking forward to lots of summer salads!

One quick editing note: in every place where I put “we” or “us” in this post, please substitute Zach. Because really, my black thumb and I can take no credit for the amazingness that is our garden. It’s all thanks to this wonderful guy:

On a side note, we have visitors at our house this week, including our sweet niece and the most adorable nephews ever:

Can you handle the cuteness? (photo courtesy of my super talented mother-in-law)

summer so far

We made it! Summer is officially here, and we are absolutely loving it. Absolutely loving it, and absolutely crazy busy. Zach has had a lot to do with “work” (more on that later), and I’ve spent most of our first few days off cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, and generally getting our lives in order. That being said, we’ve still had time for our fair share of fun. Here are a few shots of recent excitement:

For our “assessments are finished, it’s the first night of summer” date night celebration, Zach and I went to Southpoint, our favorite local mall. We used a gift card my student teacher gave us for the cheesecake factory, and finished up the night by seeing the new X-Men movie (Zach has loved them since childhood). For the movie, we used passes that my wonderful husband found were being offered through General Mills. We aren’t being Cheerios fans, but a $3 movie ticket is hard to beat!

Of course, no trip to Southpoint would be complete without a little stop into Anthropologie. While we were there, I was floored by this amazing book structure. Their displays never cease to amaze me!

On Monday night, we had Zach’s younger brother over for dinner, a game of Settlers of Cataan, and…The Bachelorette (total Angle famly guilty pleasure). It was such a fun, laid-back night- just the way summer should be! We made these for dinner, and while P-dub is definitely not joking when she comments on the mess they create, they are totally worth it. Delicious, and oh so summery.

We have a few more things to get done today, but we’re looking forward to trying out the pool at our gym (it has a slide!) and meeting up with friends for dinner. Yep. I could get used to this.

snoopy would be proud

The kids are officially out for summer. I still have one more teacher workday, but graduation was yesterday. Even though I’m incredibly excited to get this summer started, I will miss the kids. We had a particularly amazing group this year, and it’s sad to see them go.

In honor of the end of the school year, I thought I’d share a cute crafty project the kids just finished. It has become somewhat of an annual tradition for the 7th graders to make quilts to send to Project Linus. The blankets are then sent to children in the hospital.

Although we helped them get started, rethread the machines, and generally put out fires, the kids did pretty much everything on their own. Yes, 64 7th graders with sewing machines. Chaos at its finest.

This year, we were totally blown away with the adorable quilts that the kids made.

Impressive, right?

Now, onto my next point: if they can do it, so can you. Making a quilt may seem daunting, but there are some really simple, beautiful ways to start. Plus, I know from experience that it makes the perfect summer project!

We sure will miss them, but we’re looking forward to meeting a new group in August!