Archives For December 2011

After receiving the yellow hand towels from my mom for Christmas, I was feeling inspired to stop by Ross after work yesterday in search of some plush white bath towels. I found a set of two bath towels, two hand towels, and two wash cloths for $18. Done.

They were exactly what I was looking for to hang out in that bathroom and greet the occasional guest. When I took a step back to admire my genius, I realized that this may be the very first room in our house that I can truly consider “done.”¬†Oh sure, I could maybe find something else to add to that little collection hanging on the wall above the toilet, or find a better way to organize the linen closet (which I just realized almost never appears in photos–you can just barely see the door handle on the far right side of the photo below, taken waaaay back in April).

I guess I had it easy because the bones of this bathroom were so good–non-offensive color on the walls, great tile, clean, with a couple of shelves already installed, but I never was a big fan of that vanity and sink. It seemed way too modern for this house. I don’t mind it so much anymore now that I have those lovely hand towels hanging next to it. The photo below was taken just a few months ago, in September. You can see that I’d hung some stuff on the walls and DIY’d a new shower curtain, but things were still looking a little blah.

I love the pops of yellow and the crisp whites I’ve got going on in there now.

I think it will probably be a loooong time before I can knock another room off my list like this. There’s just so much left to do in the other nine rooms in the house, not to mention the projects we’d like to tackle outside. And that’s fine with me, since this is my hobby and all. Wouldn’t want to fix up the whole place too fast and then have to sit around twiddling my thumbs for the next few years until I can talk Nick until moving. Besides, I think things turn out better when you take it slow. Allow yourself time to be inspired and to think things through before spending all your money on something you might hate in a few months. Who knows what the bathroom would have turned out like if I’d rushed it. I probably would have spent a lot of money on a new sink, something that turned out to be completely unnecessary (although I can’t say I’d turn it down if someone surprised me with a more traditional-looking alternative).

Maybe I’ll celebrate by taking a bubble bath in there this weekend. It’s good to use the tub every now and then anyway, just to check it out up close and personal to make sure folks who come to stay with us aren’t grossed out by an obscene amount of previously unnoticed cat hair (or something of the like).

My sister always asks me for a gift card for Christmas, and I always oblige her. Our parents refuse to give cash or gift cards, which is what she always says that she wants, so I figure why not give her something she’ll appreciate, even if it is a bit impersonal. She bought her first house this year and requested a gift card to Lowe’s to help her spruce it up. I thought it’d be fun, though, to do something a little more interesting than the whole gift-card-in-envelope thing. So I put my own spin on an idea I saw on Pinterest (originally posted about on The Creative Mama, which appears to be down at the moment but will hopefully be back up and running soon). Shannon was so confused when she saw the heavy box labeled to her from me. Even after she opened it I think it took her a minute to realize that the gift card was inside.

Pretty cool, eh? I started by scavenging an old pickle jar from my stash and scrubbing it clean. I discovered that a little olive oil and a wire mesh sponge could get that pesky label off in no time. Then I soaked the jar and lid in a mixture of warm soapy water, vinegar, and lemon juice overnight to neutralize the pickle stench. Once it was all clean and (mostly) deodorized, I got down to the business of making that lid a little more festive with some red spray paint.

Once the lid was dry I gathered some smallish ornaments from my tree and locked myself and my supplies in the guest room so that no cats could interfere with the creation of my Christmas magic.

The jar that inspired me had some ornaments glued to the lid and others left to float freely, but I was in the mood to get fancy and use some fishing line I already had to suspend them at different heights in the water. First step: tie some line to each ornament.

Then I very nervously glued down the end of the line holding the bronze ornament and waited for it to dry before testing the length.

It was way too long and the ornament rested on the bottom of the jar, so I just glued down more of the string a little bit at a time until it was about the length I wanted.

Then I attached the gift card to the center of the lid with a generous strip of hot glue on either side.

See how cool it looks so far?

I continued with attaching the red ornament, using the same trial and error system to gradually raise it to the perfect height by gluing down the wire just a little bit at a time.

And the little baby ornament comes last. By this time it was old hat and I could guess pretty easily how low I wanted it to hang.

Ta-da! Sorry they’re looking a little wonky in the photo. They kept swinging all around, making photography difficult.

Next, I covered the bottom of the jar with kind of a lot of glitter. Perhaps more glitter than was necessary, but there are only so many times a year that I get to use glitter and I wanted to make the most of it.

Then I filled it with water, leaving a bit of room at the lip to account for the water that would be displaced by my ornaments.

The moment of truth: I screwed the lid on tight and turned the whole thing upside down. Oooooooh, pretty.

Unfortunately, I got a little too excited about turning it over and back repeatedly to watch the glitter swirl around, and this happened…

Womp, womp, womp. One of my ornaments broke, filled with water, and sank to the bottom. I was crestfallen for a moment before remembering this bit of advice from Ryan Gosling:

So I told myself that the broken ornament was symbolic of the imperfection of the holiday season and let it go. I don’t think Shannon even noticed until I pointed it out to her. I, personally, would hate to receive something like this as a gift, because what the heck do you do with it? It’s the kind of thing you really don’t have much use for but feel guilty throwing away. Apparently I don’t mind burdening my family with it, though. It’s the Christmas spirit.

Proof that my mother listens to me.

I’ve been blogging about wanting these towels for months. I couldn’t justify $18 of my own meager home decor budget on a hand towel towel (especially since I’ve been working hard to save up for some bigger stuff, like new furniture, a rug, and a TV for the new office/family room), but apparently my mom was reading and decided to give them to me for Christmas. They’re every bit as perfect in this bathroom as I’d imagined. That shade of yellow is a perfect match to the trim on the shower curtain. And I love how when I slide them right up next to each other folded in half lengthwise the pattern mirrors itself. Also, for the first time since we first laid eyes on this house I don’t hate that vessel sink. I guess the yellow complements the blue tint to the glass and the classic pattern balances the ultra-modern bowl and faucet. Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled. Thanks, mom!

Hello hello, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I’m off of work today and inclined to keep this morning’s post short and sweet so I can get back to snuggling under my new heated throw while reading The Hunger Games on my new Kindle (I got completely spoiled yesterday). Juliet, predictably, thinks this is a splendid idea, especially after all the excitement of this weekend. That girl is ready for a week long nap, I think. Check out her Christmas outfit. (sorry for the blurry iPhone pic)

Is she not the cutest, sweetest thing you’ve ever seen? The hat didn’t last long but that jingle bell collar stayed on all day. I was so sad to take it off of her last night! My mother in law, who went to Catholic school, says that I can technically keep it on her until the Epiphany on January 6, but I don’t know if Juliet can handle that much more jingling in her life.

Remember how on Friday I was singing Nick’s praises for picking out my gifts all by himself for the first time ever? We had set a $50 limit on each other and he got me two very sweet and thoughtful gifts: an otterbox case for my phone, which I so appreciate because my old case was almost three years old and quite literally falling apart, and this little garden gnome, to go along with this one that we already had. Now they can be boyfriend and girlfriend!

I wish that Nick and I could both take a whole week off to just hang out and relax around the house, but alas, Nick is back at work today and I will be tomorrow. I plan to spend today savoring my last day of vacation with a rare indulgence of complete laziness. I think it will be glorious.