Doll House, Our Forever Home

We’ll be home for Christmas…

In our current home, that is.

I haven’t updated on the progress of our new house in a while because there hasn’t been too much exciting happening for the past couple months.  The finisher has just finished installing baseboards, interior doors and closet shelving and the glass panels have been installed in the railing.  There is progress being made, but it is a bit slower then we had hoped and it is looking like we will get possession mid January.

I was REALLY hoping to be in before Christmas.  We packed up all the Christmas stuff nicely last year to have it ready to move.  I had visions of Christmas in the new house and having my little guy write a letter to Santa telling him the new address to bring his toys to.  I was planning to buy the kids a play kitchen because we’d now have room for it, but I think it might wait now since it will just be one more big item to move.

Now I am faced with the dilemma as to whether or not it is worth the effort to haul out all the Christmas stuff and then repack it all again to be moved a few weeks after.  I am sure we’ll be busy with all kinds of other packing and preparing for the move over Christmas so I really think the best solution will be to keep Christmas pretty low key in our house this year.  This will be a challenge for me.

I can’t say that I am not disappointed, but I do know this really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  We still have a roof over our heads. We will still have Christmas.  And most important we will all be together as a family.  Plus this just means I will have plenty of time to prepare for next year and go all out for our first Christmas at the new house.

 

Doll House, Our First House

Fall Front Porch Decor

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The leaves have all turned beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red and have started gathering on the ground over the past few weeks – Fall is officially here.  The flowers in my planters are looking sadder and sadder as the days pass and I am happy to have some fall themed items to put on the porch to spruce it back up and celebrate the change of season.

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The large pumpkins I use on my porch are ceramic and were found at Winner’s several years back.  They were more expensive then a real pumpkin, but I like that they are something I can reuse year after year.  Combined with a few small real pumpkins or gourds, it is a quick and easy holiday display.

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And the best part?  Come Halloween all I have to do is rotate my pumpkins around, add in my “Happy Halloween” tombstone and switch the welcome sign for our house is ready for trick-or-treaters!

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Hopefully it looks as good on the front porch of our Forever House next Halloween!

Big Hands, Crafts, Doll House, Our Forever Home

DIY Scrabble Tile Pillows

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I have had this Scrabble tile pillow idea pinned on my pinterest boards forever – since before we even started thinking of buying a new house.  My husband and I both enjoy playing Scrabble so I instantly fell in love with the idea and have been waiting for just the right time/place to use the idea.  After weeks of furniture shopping, we finally just ordered a large custom sectional for the bonus room of our new house and I knew it would be the perfect spot to incorporate the pillows.  I struggled choosing between the words “HOME” or “COZY”, but decided HOME worked best as the décor in our new forever home.

The method I used to create my pillows requires you to cut a stencil out of contact paper.  I had used this method previously to create pillowcases as part of my sister’s wedding gift (below), so I was fairly confident it would work for this project too.

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For the actual pillows, I found these 15×15″ pillows at Jysk.  The cover came off easily, they were a good match to the Scrabble tile colors and at only $3 per pillow I didn’t have to worry too much in case the project was an epic fail.  I am so happy to say it wasn’t and I am able to share this project with you.

Materials Required:

– Pillow covers (1 per letter in your word)

– Home Printer

– Contact Paper (I got mine at Michael’s)

– Exacto Knife (tools section of the dollar store)

– Scotch tape

– Paintbrush

– Black fabric paint

I began the project by laying out the letters and numbers in Adobe Illustrator using the font Arial Narrow Bold.  For my 15×15″ pillows, I ended up doing the letter in 700pt type and the smaller numbers in 365pt.  Once laid out, I printed the letters off on my home computer to use as my template to cut out my stencils from contact paper.

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If you are lucky enough to have a light table, that can be used to overlay the contact paper on the printed letters on cut them out.  I improvised by taping my letters and contact paper up on my patio door so the sunlight acted as a light table.  I then used my exacto knife and carefully cut out each letter/number.  TIP: When placing the contact paper, ensure the side that you peel off is facing down or your letters will be backwards.  For letters/numbers with centers such as the O or 4, you will need to keep the middle sections as part of your stencil.

From there, I placed the contact paper template on my pillowcases to determine exact alignment.  I begin by placing it with the backing still on and marking along the edges with scotch tape.  The tape then gives me a guide once I peel off the backing paper and go to stick it down.  It is a bit of a tricky process, but the contact paper is pretty easy to pull apart if it does stick on itself.  Just don’t try to reposition too much once stuck down because it results in a less clean edge.  Once stuck down, push along all edges to ensure there is a good bond and the paint won’t leak under the stencil.

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The final step is to begin painting.  Place a piece of cardboard inside the pillow so the paint does not leak through to the other side and just begin filling in the open areas with the paintbrush and fabric paint.  For clean edges, always start on the outside of the contact paper and brush in towards the open area.  It is a bit tedious, but it makes for sharper edges.  Once dry, just stuff the pillow back into the case and you are done!

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This method can be used for any type of image or lettering you want to put onto a pillow.  Using the Scrabble tile idea, the possibilities are endless – you could do your child’s name or initial, or spell out “LOVE” or “NAP” for your own bed.  It was a quick and easy project and I am very  happy with the final results.  Now to wait to get into our new house so I can see these on our pretty new sofa.

Doll House

Designing for the Dogs

We absolutely adore our dogs and at this point we don’t see ever not having a dog in our house.  As silly as it seems, they were a huge factor in many of the design decisions for the new house.  They are members of the family and we want to make it as comfortable as possible for them to live in the house with us.

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I was very happy we could fit a full bathroom on the main floor of the house.  Currently we are having to wrap a towel around the dog and haul them all the way upstairs when they are muddy and need a bath.  This is no small feat when your dog weighs 70lbs!    To ensure easy hose-downs, we also added a pull-out spray hose in the tub and went with a slightly larger tub to give them plenty of room to turn around in and shake.

Our entire main floor is hardwood and tile.  This will allow us to lead them right through the house and to the tub without having to worry about muddy paw prints staining the carpet.  For the hardwood choice, we upgraded from maple to a harder hickory in hopes that it stands up better to scratches.  We have also gone with a natural finish rather then a dark stain so that it camouflages what scratches we do get.  Upstairs, the carpet had to be dark enough to hide both kid and dog stains and still be something fairly comfortable to lay around on.

The dogs will spend their time gated in the back entrance when we are away from the house.  Because of this, we have had a custom unit designed for the back entrance that will include built-in dog dishes and a large space for a dog bed.  My original thought was to build the dog dishes into the kitchen island, but it made more sense to put them in the back foyer where they are still easily accessible and where the dogs will spend a lot of their time.

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The cubbies were just going up at our last walk-through, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it is all turning out.  I love the convenience of the benches and cubbies in our current place, so this area was a must have for me.  It will be nice to have a designated space for the dog dishes and a space for the dogs to sleep rather then a dog bed lying out on in the middle of the floor.

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Outside the house, the backyard is going to provide a whole new set of challenges as we try to figure out the best way to divide the kids space and the dogs area.  We already have some ideas in mind, but luckily we will have until next Spring to figure that all out.

Doll House, Our Forever Home

Finally, We’re Getting an Ensuite!

We were out to the house again last night and I am excited to finally have a pretty decent exterior shot to share!  The siding has been slow, but it is just about done now and it looks beautiful.  I can’t wait to see the finished product with the stonework around the base of the garage.

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Our current house has what is called a “cheater ensuite”.  We have access to it from our master bedroom, but there is also a door into it from the hallway and it serves as the main bathroom for everyone.  It has been working fine since the kids are still small, but as they grow it is going to be nice to have our own separate bathroom spaces and a bit more privacy.  A true ensuite is one of the few things I feel is really lacking from our current house and I am very excited to be getting an incredible ensuite with a jetted soaker tub and multi-jet shower just for us adults to use.

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I absolutely love the steps up to our ensuite and the built in shelves we added beside the soaker tub.  The shower will be on the other wall, but I will get to that once tile is started.

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Our new house has three full bathrooms vs. the one and a half bath we currently have.  We made the decision to add a tub to the main floor bathroom to have a space for overnight guests and, more importantly, a place to bath dirty dogs.  We currently have to pack our 70lb and 40lb dogs all the way upstairs when they are muddy and need a bath.  It will save a lot of backache to have the bath/shower unit on the main floor.  The kids are also still young so I foresee them bathing their in the evenings when I have work to do in the kitchen or if it is a messy spaghetti night where they need to go straight from table to tub.

The actual tub we chose for the kids and main floor bathroom is a little larger then your standard tub.  I have had to give up a bit of counter space, but I think the nice, round tub will be great for bathing kids and dogs in.

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The bathrooms cabinets are the same natural maple we have gone with in the kitchen.  There is a bank of drawers for each kid in their bathroom and the open shelf on the bottom will hold extra towels.

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I was also excited to see the bathroom cabinets had the drawer hardware already on.  They are clean and simple, just the way we like it!

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And finally, a picture to show the progress happening in the kitchen.  They seem to have been working at a pretty good pace and have already gotten one wall of upper cabinets installed.

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Doll House, Our First House

Up in the Clouds – Keira’s Hot Air Balloon Nursery

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Now that they are making good progress on our new house, my husband has suggesting it is time I start thinking about what I want to do with the kids new rooms.  It doesn’t seem that long ago since I worked on my little girl’s nursery and I think I will just reuse most of the décor items in her room until she is ready to be moved up to a big girl bed.

For her nursery, I chose a hot air balloon theme.  I wanted something bright and girly and it seemed like an easy theme to pull off with a few simple DIY projects.

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I started with a bright bedding set and we added stripes of blue and pink paint around the room.  The blue stripe served as a sky-like background for simple 3D clouds I cut out of poster board and glues together using rubber cement.

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For the air balloons, I simply attached paper lanterns onto dollar store wooden baskets using ribbon and hot glue.  Each balloon was finished off with the addition of a cute animal in the basket and hung from the ceiling.

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We ended up using the crib and furniture from my son’s nursery, but I did find her a special pink chair.

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I carried the balloon theme through onto some wall art I hung by the chair in basic white Ikea frames.

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I am very happy with the finished space and will be a little sad to leave this house after spending so much time doing each of the kids nurseries.  I love the pink, green and blue color scheme and I am pretty sure there will be a similar color palette once I do design her a new room.

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Doll House, Our Forever Home

The start of my new kitchen!

Our latest visit to the new house was pretty exciting.  The railings are now up and our cabinets have been delivered.

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We wanted to keep things light and bright in the kitchen so we opted for natural maple cabinets.  They were roughly laid out when we visited and it was nice to get a better feel for the space.

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It is significantly more cabinet space then our current house so I should never have a reason to complain about a lack of space.  It will be so nice to have the extra working space on the island and I am looking forward to using it when hosting parties.

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The wood portion of the railings are also a natural maple.  There will be glass panels coming for the open spaces and it still needs varnished, but they look beautiful so far.

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Doll House, Our Forever Home

Covering up the walls – siding and paint

At this point, I was really hoping to have a picture of the front of our house all sided and looking pretty.  We visited Friday and the back and sides were done, but the front was still yet to be touched.

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I don’t know why I am so anxious to see the siding all done.  I think it is because we chose the colors over a year ago so I don’t really remember what we went with and I am very curious to see what it all looks like.  I also think the house just looks so much more complete with the siding on.

The disappointment I felt over not having the exterior done was made up when we went inside to see the ceilings had been textured and the first coat of paint was on the walls.  We went with a neutral gray paint for the entire house so the paint in itself is not all that exciting, but it is good to see progress.

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We also noticed the pile of wood in the living room and figured out it was our stair railings.  We have opted for a wood railing with glass inserts to keep things open and airy.  We love the look and I really hope I am not going to completely regret the choice with two young kids and dogs.  I think we may be going to Costco to stock up on Windex!

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And, so far, my favourite room in the house is our master bedroom.  That may change once my kitchen cabinets and granite are in, but for now I am in love with the vaulted ceilings and the sunken tub in the ensuite.

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It’s slowly coming together and I am beginning to get stressed at the thought of having to pack and move.  The cabinets and railings are set to be installed by the end of the month and once those are in I think my panic will really set in.

Doll House, Our Forever Home

Starting From the Ground Up

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It is hard to believe it has already been an entire year since we began the process of finding financing and starting the paperwork on our new custom home.  The decision making has been overwhelming at times, but it is exciting as we’ve been able to watch our dreams go from paper into an actual house.

At this point, the shell of our home is finished and we have a good idea what the spaces feel like.  Drywall has just finished and we are reaching the finishing stage for the house which means I am growing more anxious to see the more cosmetic things like paint, flooring, faucets and lights go in.

The selections process was several weeks of driving around to different suppliers and doing our best to come to stay within our budget and reach a quick agreement.   All in all we did pretty good and I think our final choices are something we will both be happy with for a long time to come.

One of the first selections appointments we had was for the plumbing fixtures.  We both tend towards a more modern design, so it was fairly easy to narrow the selections down to those items with a square, geometric look.

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Next up was lighting and we continued with the square theme.

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We did splurge a bit on the fixture for the front foyer and in the dining area.  I first showed these to my husband as a bit of a joke, but apparently I know him better then I thought because he instantly loved them.

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For the kids rooms, I chose to do something a little different and am hoping my little guy likes this adorable plane fixture as much as I do.

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Our kitchen and bathroom cabinets will be a natural maple and the bathroom countertops are the laminate sample shown below.  The counters in the kitchen will be Steel Grey granite.

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The kitchen backsplash will be the light grey tile below with a strip of the mosaic tile throughout as an accent.  Between the grey’s and stainless steel I think my kitchen is going to end up looking fairly masculine so hopefully I can add a feminine touch with accessories.

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Finally, the flooring we have chosen is a natural hickory hardwood on the main floor.  We both love wood with a bit of variation and are hoping the lighter color choice might be a bit more dog friendly.

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So there you have a quick glimpse of our new home.  I can’t wait to share the final product, but we are still a few months away from that.  It has been a long wait, but it will all be worth it in the end.