Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Glimpse of 2011

As our New Year’s Eve celebration quickly approaches, I started to reflect on the moments and projects that defined our 2011. Here are a few of the ones that come to mind…
first visit to Bauer Brothers (followed by many, many more!)

My first fabulous reupholstery project

Installing our privacy fence (still shocked over how much it improved our yard)

And a reader favorite- The Bachman’s Idea Houses of 2011, Spring, Summer, Fall and Holiday.

I look forward to sharing more of our projects in 2012, and we hope there will be more progress on our “House Projects” wish list. I also hope you will still join us for each little adventure ahead, the company has certainly been a wonderful!

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve!  Cheers to an even more amazing 2012!

~Carla & Alex

Friday, December 30, 2011

Head Over Heels Friday: A Day of Local Home Decor & Junkin' Favorites

Happy Friday everybody!   

Today I am sharing a whole bunch of local shops that I am Head Over Heels for when it comes to home decor shopping & junkin' (DIY-er style)!  Just yesterday, we took my sister Holly and my brother-in-law Brian for a trip to all these stops since they are in town for the weekend.  This little 'shopping itinerary' will be great for anyone else out there looking for interesting & unique stores to visit in the Twin Cities!

We started off getting breakfast and coffee at Cupcake then went into Art & Architecture in St.Paul.
They have so many great antiques and architectural salvage items.  I think we spent the most time in this store looking through everything.

My sister and I were trying to figure out what that object (left photo) was. Turns out it was an old salon hair dryer, but I insisted it was a teleportation device so we had to take a nerdy photo with it :)  I also really wanted some of those vintage roller skates but decided it wasn't really necessary (nor was a broken ankle).
 We also stopped upstairs in Claire Steyaert's Antiques.  Her shop was beautiful and inspiring, however VERY pricey!
Our next stop was Bauer Brothers Salvage in North Minneapolis.  My sister knew I had blogged about this place a few times before and really wanted to check it out.  I think they were amazed at the size of the warehouse and just how much of everything they had. 
After we nearly got lost inside Bauer Brothers, we hopped over to Northeast Minneapolis to visit Architectural Antiques.  This store is always set up so beautifully!  Alex and I had our eye on the table and chairs below.  They were from the late 1800's and looked so beautifully authentic. 
One other stop in Northeast was Antiquified Antiques.  I ended up getting two cute little cameo pins that I hope to add to a necklace.
Lastly, we made a visit to Bachman's on Lyndale.  I hope that someday my sister visits again when they are having one of their Idea Houses, but it was still fun to show her the store.
I fell in love with that hardcover book turned candle holder, vintage yardsticks turned wall shelves, numbered stools, and the "Key To My Heart/ Success". Perhaps a few craft project ideas?!?

Phew!  I feel as pooped as I did yesterday now!  Are you Head Over Heels for these local shops too?

If you make a visit to the Twin Cities I hope you get to visit a favorite too!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Simple Silly Christmas

Well, it's over. 
I still sort of can't believe it, but Christmas is gone until next year.  It all went by so fast!  As I mentioned in our last post, Alex and I decided to stay in Minnesota this year instead of trekking back to Michigan with the pups to visit family.  It was kind of sad, but we did our best to make sure our "Christmas for Two" was Holly and Jolly...

Christmas Eve kicked off by acknowledging Mr. Rocco's 4th birthday.  He looks excited about it right?
Then we got all gussied up to head out to dinner and a show at the Guthrie.  Alex's parents got us tickets to see A Christmas Carol since we were hanging back in Minneapolis.  So sweet!
 I didn't take a photo during the show of course, but I had to get at least one before it started so I could capture a little bit of the experience.
 The show was great and I really felt the Christmas spirit.  Tiny Tim got me at the end with his "And God bless us, everyone", tears welled up in my eyes... until I caught Alex looking at me and saying "Oh geeze!".

After the show, we headed out on the Endless Bridge over looking the Mississippi.  If you ever visit Minneapolis make sure to stop at the Guthrie Theater. The building is very unique and you can wander around without any show tickets!  The Christmas Eve view of the Stone Arch Bridge was simply beautiful! 
Christmas Eve even got better once we got home to discover Mannequin on TV, haha! 
Ahhh, cheesy 80's movie, thank you Santa!

Then it was Christmas Day!
We really missed our family a lot, but we had fun with our own little "family" (aka lots of dog photos). We gave our "kids" their presents....
Baked them little cookies dog biscuits...
...made them work for it :)
And finally cooked up a yummy dinner! 
Alex made maple bacon wrapped Cornish game hens with raisin apple cornbread stuffing- tasted very Christmas-y!  Duning the food prep (which included dancing chickens), I noticed someone lurking in the shadows behind Alex...
Alex kept bumping into her while he was trying to cook.  I thought it was funny, he didn't :)

After dinner Alex and I cozied up by the fire and watched a couple Christmas movies.
It was simple, cozy, and I guess a strange way to spend Christmas, but we enjoyed it!  Now, onward to the New Year!!!  We hope you had....
~ Alex, Carla, Rocco, and Sadie

Friday, December 23, 2011

Head Over Heels Friday: Christmas Sweaters!

I know you might be thinking, "Wait, does she mean Ugly Christmas sweaters?"... NO!
 Yes, that is my hubby Alex (evil laughter), however it isn't his body. I had a blast photoshopping his head onto one of these photos!  Couldn't resist showing you!

This post is about classic Christmas sweater style! It is something I have been Head Over Heels for probably since my teens.  I know you might think I am crazy, but I love wearing something themed on Christmas.  It just helps me get into the spirit!  I often wear something red and green, but I LOVE a cute classic Christmas-y sweater (proof shown on last Christmas)!  Here's a look at some of my favorites I have seen out sweater hunting this year...

If your extra crazy festive like me and need to get your hubby in the themed sweater spirit here are some more for the men!!!

Thankfully, Alex has been a good sport about my strange Christmas sweater rule :) and he can rock a sweater cardigan better than Clark W. Griswold.
Sorry Sparky, you lose that one!

Are you Head Over Heels for classic Christmas sweater or Christmas themed attire too?

Or, do you think I am nuts???

It's okay if you do, but it won't stop me from wearing my Christmas sweaters :) hehe!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and safe travels to anyone out there trying to make their way back home for the holidays!  It will be Christmas for two here at our house (well four if you count Rocco and Sadie). We opted to skip the trip back to Michigan this year, it's a bit of a bummer but Alex and I will make our own little Christmas as special as we can... which I am sure means some sort of strange costumes for the dogs along with photos- so maybe we'll see ya on Christmas :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Project Feature: DIY Entry Storage Ideas

Today I have the great pleasure of featuring some great entry storage ideas thanks to my sister Holly and her handy hubby Brian (you might remember their DIY Built-Ins we featured in May)!

A couple days ago, they sent me an email with photos illustrating some storage ideas for their entryway....
This enterance is from their garage, so the door you see is the door to the garage (just for reference).  They have been wanting to add in a bench in this space for shoe storage along with something above it, but aren't sure which look to go for.

Want to help them decide?  Sure you do!!! Let's take a closer look at each option...

Option #1: A bench with cubbie spaces for baskets and a chalkboard with hooks above.

 Option #2: A bench with cubbies for baskets and wainscoting on wall.  This time the bench has a dark stained top which matches the wood color on the cabinet across from where the bench would go (see it in the right corner of the photo?).  With the wainscoting, they would add in hooks somewhere along the top of the trim.
Option #3: Same as Option 2 only with a white bench top.

A few things to consider:
  • All the trim in their house is white
  • Their cabinetry color & wood flooring is a dark wood stain
  • This space has tile flooring
  • There is no other wainscoting in their house
  • There is a floor cabinet and wall mounted cabinet across from where the bench would be (highlighted with arrows in photo below), and it might be tricky adding the wainscoting on that wall.  
That last one is probably the one they have the most concerns with.  Not only would it be difficult to install the wainscoting around the base cabinet and above it's countertop, it might end up looking awkward?

What do you think? 
Which option should they go with given all the considerations? 
Do you have any other suggestions for their entryway?
We would love to hear your thoughts or post a link to similar projects if you've completed one yourself!
Thanks to Holly and Brian for letting me share their project!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gift Idea: DIY Sign with Family Name & Year Established

Need a last minute gift idea???  I've got one for you!  Take a look at this family name sign I made for my sister....
I gave it to her last month for her birthday but thought I'd share it now as a gift idea.  It was pretty easy to make and it adds a thoughtful personalized touch for the recipient! Here's how I made it...

I started by getting a piece of wood to make the sign out of.  We actually had some scrap wood pieces in the basement so my hubby just cut one in the size I needed.  Then I grabbed my FAVORITE wood stain Minwax Special Walnut 224 wood and stained the piece of wood to give it a more antique style.
Love that stuff, used it on my DIY Vintage Style Crates and Cutting Boards

After staining and drying, I began to stencil on the letters.  I didn't have an actual stencil in the font and size I wanted so I just printed out the letters I wanted from our computer.  Then, I carefully cut the letters out and traced them onto the wood with a pencil.   I thought the sign would look nice with the last name spelled vertically and the year established date in a smaller font at the bottom horizontally.
Once I had the letters traced out with pencil, I used an Elmer's Paint Pen to outline them with black paint. 

I HIGHLY recommend Elmer's Paint Pens for this project! Without it I don't think the edges of each letter would have looked so straight and crisp!  Plus, you can use them on just about anything- wood, clay, fabric, glass, etc.
After I outlined each letter with the paint pen, I got out some black paint and brushes to fill them in.  I didn't use the paint pen for that part because I wanted it to have some thicker paint for a more authentic look.
I was soooo happy with it once I was finished!  I couldn't wait to take it to the post office to send to her!

Here is a picture of the sign once they found a nice home for it in their house.
Thanks Holly for sending me a picture to post on the blog!
Isn't it nice? I think it adds a proud family touch to their home!  I think I need to make one for us now!

Hope everyone has a nice week!  I am sort of scrambling with last minute Christmas to-dos :(  why do I do that to myself every year???  Wish me luck... I hope I don't become a Grinch in the next couple of days!

PS- if you haven't seen it already, be sure to check out Holly & Brian's DIY Built-Ins!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Head Over Heels Friday: Winter Night Walks (Plus Our Contest Winner!)

A couple weeks ago on a Monday night, Alex and I did something a bit out of the ordinary.  Even though it was freezing outside, we decided to escape our house for a little bit to visit the snow covered Mississippi Riverfront. 
We headed to out favorite spot along the river, St. Anthony Main. It is cute, quaint, and has a beautiful skyline view of Minneapolis just across the Mississippi.  Alex and I lived nearby this little neighborhood when we first moved to Minneapolis.
We still come by here a lot, mostly in the warmer months to sit along the riverfront and grab a bit to eat or drink.  In those warmer months, this area is filled with TONS of energy, people. music, dogs, bikes, weddings, etc.  Seeing it on a chilly winter night was a complete contrast- clam, silent, peaceful, even empty.

 Just interesting seeing how winter changes the feel of a place you know & love.  I felt like Alex and I were the only people around on that winter night, sort of made me love it in a whole new way.
We popped into the Aster Cafe for some hot cocoa then we made our way to the Stone Arch Bridge to get a closer look at the city lights.  Again, so different than the summer time atmosphere FILLED with people, and at that moment I felt like we were the only people that existed in such big city.
So naturally, in the moment, I did what most people do when no one is around.... Act like a dork :) 
Just kidding! Well no, I guess I did until Alex got annoyed with me.

Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at is that I learned something new on this little weeknight adventure and I wanted to share it. 

Yes, I hate winter, very, very much. 
 I spend it all cooped up in our house to the point I just can't take it and   I feel depressed by the fact that I don't see the sunshine/daylight when I leave for work and it's gone once I get home. Yep, winter can wear even a typically optimistic gal DOWN!  But, feeling awful and cooped up can be healed by any little out of the ordinary experience in a place you love or with people you love...
Winter snow, city lights, clear sky, and stars (plus hubby behind the camera).... 
Yep, this experience was better than sitting in front of the TV on a bland Monday night!  I was Head Over Heels!

I'm going to try my best to get outside (even in the cold) to see and experience new places this winter. It was really fun and memorable. I hope it might inspire other people that get the winter blues to do the same!

PS- snow please come back for Christmas!!!

Now, onto our Caption Contest Winner!!!!  The winning caption is......
Lauren!  Nice work lady!  You really got Alex and I with Sarah's caption about drilling her pant let to a coffee table :)

Special thanks and honorable mentions to Erin, Bridget, Paula (loved the Charlie's Angels angle!), Rissa, and 2boyslotanoise!!! Glad you stepped up to the challenge and I loved reading your captions!

Hope to do another giveaway sometime after the holidays!  Good luck to everyone with a long Christmas to-do list (like me) this weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Craft Night Series: Light Filled Bottles! Plus a Multi-Wear Snap Scarf Giveaway Contest!!!

It's Craft Night #3 in our Holiday Crafting Series!  We got so many fun pictures during this project that I am also including a Caption Contest!  The winner will receive their very own Multi-Wear Snap Scarf (scroll to the end of the post for details). 

First, let's take a look at our crafty creation.  My friend Sarah hosted and she came up with this bright idea....
Wondering how or where those string lights are plugged in? Well that's our project!  We got out our power tools and drilled a hole into the back of the glass bottle.  Pretty simple and it looks much nicer than seeing a cord come out of the top.  This project is fun, inexpensive, and can turn empty wine bottles or jars into holiday lighting!  Let's get started...

I guess it wasn't really a Craft "Night" since we met up at Sarah's for Sunday Bunch, which was a nice little change up!  We kicked it off with some yummy food and mimosas!!!
 After we fueled up, it was time to get started on our project! 

Here's what you need:
Power Drill
Empty Wine Bottle or Glass Jar
Masking Tape
Mini String Lights (easier if you get ones that DO NOT connect end to end)
Safety Goggles
Working Gloves
3/8" (or 1/2") Glass Drill Bit (shown below)
NOTE: since this project includes power tools and glass, make sure you wear the appropriate safety gear!  Also, take it easy on the mimosas if you have those too!

First, take your bottles or jars and soak them in warm water with dish soap for at least 10 minutes. It will clean out the inside of the bottle and those pesky labels will get saturated with water making it easy to scrape off with a scrubber.
Once you have the label removed, dry the bottle and apply a piece of masking tape over the bottle where you intend to drill the hole.  The tape surface makes it far easier to start the hole with your drill (not as slick as glass).  It also serves as a SAFETY measure in case any of the glass around the hole chips or breaks.
Next step- Drilling!!! 

To add some holiday spirit, I forced everyone we decided to wear festive head gear, 'tis the season after all!  Sadly, we forgot our protective safety goggles but thankfully I remembered Alex's go-to when this happens- sunglasses!  At least it made for some fun pictures :)

Now that you have your drill, place your bottle on a steady surface where you feel comfortable holding it in place while drilling. Make sure to have your work gloves for this step, glass + drilling = scary, so protect your hands!
This step does take a LONG TIME!  So be ready for your arm and hand to hurt a little, drilling through glass is a slow process.  Once you notice you are getting close to finishing the hole, take it a little slower so you aren't surprised when the drill bit breaks through. 

  As I was finishing up drilling the hole (which was kind of scary, not going to lie!) and the drill bit finally fit through, a little chunk of the glass broke near the bottom of the bottle (shown on left).  So, remember the masking tape part?  Well it SURE came in handy!  That little broken piece just stuck to the tape and didn't end up inside the bottle or somewhere in Sarah's living room! Kind of a bummer, but hey, it will still work for our project. 
Sarah's bottle (on the right) is a better example, she had no problems with glass breaking.  Again, BE CAREFUL!  After you've made the hole, rinse the bottle out again to clear it of any drilling dust and dry it off.

 Now, it's time to start stringing in the lights!  Sadly, I was unable to find any string lights that do not connect end to end (as in each end has that big square plug that doesn't fit through a little hole).  So, I had to fold my string of lights in half and start stringing them in from the middle, leaving the two big plugs outside of the bottle.
Important Tip: Make sure to test your lights before you string them into the bottle.  Thankfully, I remembered to do just that and sure enough my red string lights with green plastic were broken!  Boo!  At least I brought a back up white strand, even though the color wasn't my first choice.

Since I had that broken section of glass, I covered it with tape before I started trying to insert the lights.  Turns out, that extra space did come in handy since I had to fold the lights in half and string them in.  If you have the lights that connect end to end like mine I would suggest using a larger glass drill bit (1/2" or larger) so you have more space to insert the lights.
Sarah rigged up this little stick with a hook at the end so we could pull the lights toward the top of the bottle as we were working.  It was SUPER helpful!
Once you have the lights inside plug it in so you can "oooo" and "awwwww" at their glowing beauty!
Sarah used small battery powered LED lights in her bottle (on the left).  The bulbs were really small and it was much easier to get them through the drilled hole (just thought I would mention that as an option as well). Ally didn't have hers finished by the time I took pictures.  Instead of a wine bottle, she used an antique glass peanut jar she found at a thrift store.  Turns out, those old jars have really thick glass so Ally was drilling for quite a while :)

 Once I got mine home I added this vintage label (another from the Graphics Fairy) on the bottle to go with Our Merry Little Vintage Christmas theme.
I placed it in the middle of our wine tasting station and plugged it in.  I love this unique touch of holiday lighting in our dining room!  What do you think of the final look?

Now, onto the Caption Contest!!!

While I was writing up this post I wanted to use the images below, but I was STUMPED for fun ideas :(  Here's where you come in!  Just post a comment with your caption suggestion for myself, Sarah (middle) and Ally (right).
The winner will be chosen by Alex and I based on the most clever/fun caption that will make us laugh out loud :)  That winner will receive their very own Multi-Wear Snap Scarf handmade by yours truly! They were a hot seller at Finch's Boutique, so male readers out there should make sure you post your caption ideas too!  The scarf would be a great Holiday gift! **Hint Hint**

The winner will be announced Friday, December 16th.  I look forward to reading all of your funny caption ideas and remember keep it clean and appropriate!

Alright, put on your creativity boots and get cracking! This contest is officially ON!