that time we finished a project and i actually blogged about it

We have loved getting things done around here and making this place feel more like us. However, it feels like lately that free time becomes an either/or decision as far as getting things done or blogging about them are concerned. Thankful for friends on Instagram who kicked me into gear a little bit!

You may have noticed in the kitchen photos, that we’ve been living with a giant patch of spackled wall over the peninsula for…a long time. Before it was a spackle patch, it was a hole where the wiring from the old cabinetry was located, and before it was a hole, it was this:

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When Zach and I were at a local stone retailer looking at countertops, we both loved the barnboard look of one of the displays. When we talked with one of the designers there, she mentioned that it had been made with old pallet boards and that it had been a relatively simple process. Of course, once we found out that it had the trifecta of cute, cheap, and easy, we were sold.

We mentioned to my dad that we were wanting to do a pallet accent wall in our kitchen, so when he and his wife saw some at a jobsite in their neighborhood, they asked if they could take a few for us. My dad did us a favor by disassembling the pallets before bringing them to us, making our job even easier. We ended up needing one more, and thankfully we had a couple on hand from the big shipment of flooring and other home improvement stuff last summer.

The only part of this project that we had to shell out money for was a quart of black paint. When we talked to the designer, she told us that the installers had painted the wall black before hanging the boards. That way, any gaps caused by irregularities in the boards wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re considering this project for yourself, I highly recommend this step. Tiny cracks are inevitable, and it really helps everything to look more polished. Also, since the sides of our wall are open, I decided to stop the paint a little bit back from the edge to avoid sloppy corners.One nice thing as far as the budget is concerned is that we were able to go with the cheapest paint. Since it’s hardly visible and won’t receive any wear and tear, we didn’t have to worry about quality.

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Installation of this project was so exciting because it was one of the fastest, most visual projects we’ve done in a while, which was so much fun! Zach hung everything while Hudson and I supervised. He used a nail gun to secure everything, and checked to make sure each board was level before hanging it. On the off chance that one of the boards wasn’t level after being hung, he was happy to discover that the 1.25″ brads were pretty forgiving as far as ripping it out and reattaching it went.

We love the warmth and character that the wood brings to the kitchen area. Definitely worth the effort!

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We were also so excited to see how well it tied in with the tone of the dining room table.

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The new wall also makes the view from the living room a little more fun.

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You also may have noticed the new light fixtures that my studly husband hung. The fact that he wired for these himself (as opposed to just swapping out existing fixtures) is just another picture of how he’s challenged himself and improved his skills with this house. So proud of that guy!

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As far as the fixtures go, we’re really happy with how they turned out. I considered going with different styles over the table and peninsula, but since everything is so open and relatively close, I thought it looked better to use things that coordinated with each other. We went with two Allen + Roth 12″ w Edison Style Mission Bronze pendant lights over the peninsula and the Allen + Roth 36″ w Edison Style 3 Light Mission Bronze Island Light over the table. I think the price has gone up on the pendants since we got them, but they’re still a pretty affordable option, and we’ve been really happy with them. We love the toned-down mood lighting of the Edison bulbs, but our lights are located in areas that are more about dining, less about eating. If you’re looking for task lighting, you’ll probably need to switch out the bulbs.

It’s so much fun to watch this space come together step by step. I’m looking forward to sharing more of our progress with you!

baby’s first birthday

Hudson’s birthday was several weeks ago, but I keep having to remind myself that he’s actually ONE. Zach keeps trying to tell me that the little person walking around our house is a toddler, not a baby, to which I, like basically every mom in the history of ever, reply, “Umm no. He will always be my baby.” (Sing it, Mariah.)

Despite the fact that I was a little nostalgic about my little peanut growing up, I loved getting to celebrate his birthday with family and friends. I had so much fun, in fact, that I somehow managed to not take a single picture during his party. Thankfully, my much-more-photographically-skilled-than-I-am mother-in-law captured everything so well! Today, I thought I’d share some of her shots with you.

First, a little backstory: each year, our town hosts a fireworks celebration on the 3rd of July. This past year, since we were fairly confident that we would be able to see the fireworks from our house (we could), Zach and I decided that it would be fun to host a party for some families from our church. After our list of people we wanted to invite kept growing, we decided just to invite the whole church. Eight weeks after we moved into the basement of a house that was looking like this. Yes, it was as insane as it sounds. Thankfully, by the grace of God, it went amazingly well, and people haven’t stopped asking if we’re having another one. As a result, we’re planning on the 3rd of July shindig being an annual event.

All that to say, I decided to go with a color scheme of red and blue for Hudson’s party because I could reuse most of the decorations for several years. Oh, and also because it’s cute.

Aside from red and blue, the only other goal I had in mind while planning the party was to make it as stress-free as possible. I didn’t want to be working myself ragged and get to a point where I couldn’t relax and enjoy such a special day.

So, here you go: Hudson’s Red and Blue, Low-Stress, First Birthday Party:

The banners:

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IMG_0128I made the bunting about a month before the party because I anticipated it being somewhat time-consuming, and I wanted to be able to work on it a little bit at a time. Thankfully, it ended up being pretty easy. I looked at several tutorials online, but none of them were quite what I was envisioning, so I came up with this. To be honest, I really love it. Hudson seemed to like it too- I hung it up on his actual birthday, and he kept pointing at it and babbling- love that boy. Most of the fabrics were scraps from his Christmas present, so it was pretty inexpensive, and I’m hoping to use it for his birthday for several years.

The food:

IMG_0185 IMG_0186 IMG_0188 IMG_0136Again, the idea was to keep it simple. I opted for things that I could make ahead of time, because the idea of guests arriving while I got things out of the oven and scrubbed dishes sounded a little nightmareish. We went with pasta salad, fruit salad, Pioneer Woman’s salsa and chips, and subs from the grocery store. Our local grocery store does a $5 footlong deal that includes all the toppings on the side, and if you cut them into thirds (you can see from the picture that they were still a great size), it’s a really reasonable price for very little effort. Zach’s mom made all of the cupcakes the day before, which was such an amazing help. They were a hit! I overestimated the food needs a little bit, but I was definitely in the “I’d rather have too much than too little” frame of mind. Plus, we had delicious leftovers!

The decorations:

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The bunting was the main thing I had in mind to reuse when going with the red and blue theme- I’m hoping we’ll get lots of 4th of July use out of it over the coming years.

I bought the red journal at a handmade market when we were in London on our honeymoon, and have been wanting to put it to good use. It was fun to see which songs guests chose and how their choices reflected their personalities.

I backed Hudson’s weekly photos in paper I had leftover from my scrapbooking days (so thankful for digital albums), and we hung them on the wall. They were probably the highlight of the party- I mean, who can resist cute baby pictures?

The pinwheels came in packs of three from the dollar store and ended up being the perfect table toppers- inexpensive, simple, and a hit with the kids!

One bonus of the color scheme was that we ended up having lots of things in the house that worked for accessories- blue and white enamelware, our distressed table, and our runner all helped bring everything together.

It was so much fun to put everything together and celebrate one of my favorite people! I’ll hopefully share another short birthday post so you can see how the man of the hour enjoyed his first party!