Home Sweet Home or “We Bought a Park?!?”

It’s true…we are homeowners! I still can’t really believe it.  Our house hunting adventures began back in January.  We had been talking about buying a house for a while but just weren’t ready to take the plunge.  I would look on realtor.com for the last few years just to see what was out there. The first thing we had to figure out was where we wanted to live.  This was no easy task.  We wanted land (Steve had to be able to throw a football in the yard to his brothers or our future children…no joke this is what he told the realtor), it had to be close enough to the city for Steve’s commute, and I really, really, really wanted to live near the beach.  So I started looking at different towns that fit the profile.  We narrowed it down and started casually looking at open houses on the weekends.  We weren’t in any rush and it was fun to go house hunting.  After seeing a few houses, we realized that Steve and I had very different tastes (not that we didn’t know that already) and requirements for what we wanted.  After a couple of months we decided to get a realtor and get a little more serious.  I would go with the realtor during the week after work and if I saw anything I liked, I would bring Steve back to see it.  I also would jam pack our weekends with as many open houses as we could fit in…usually 10 a day.  By the beginning of May we thought we may never find “the one”.  It’s true what they say, “When you find the right one, you will just know.”  On paper, many of the houses we looked at seemed perfect, but they just didn’t feel right.  We became frustrated after seeing close to 75 houses and thought we would never find the house that was just right for us.  Finally, one Saturday in the middle of May we went to another open house.  As we were driving up the block I didn’t feel anything special.  Even as we first saw the house, I wasn’t all that impressed.  But then I saw all of these beautiful bird houses on the property (turns out they were made by the former owner which I’ll talk about in another post) and saw how big the property was.  When we started walking through the house I had a big smile on my face and when I looked at Steve, I realized he had one too.  We continued walking through the house and we both had “that” feeling…the punch you in the stomach, take your breathe away feeling.  We had finally found it…our home!

The house is a farm ranch that was built in 1945 on a 1.25 acre lot and surrounded by 27 acres of nature preserve.  We only have one neighbor, who you can’t really see from our house.  There is wildlife everywhere, which I absolutely love because I am a huge animal lover.  The beach is less than a mile down the road (score!) and a golf course across the street. The house has endless potential and I couldn’t have asked for more!

Here it is…Home Sweet Home!  We better get some really good lawn equipment!

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 Welcome Angel: This had to be a sign from the universe!

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 Right side of the house…fire pit and hot tub.

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 Back of the house:

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 Outside the sunroom:

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 Reminds me of The Secret Garden:

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 Entrance to the Koi Pond:

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Our Koi Pond:

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 This is the frog that lives in our koi pond.  I see him hanging out there almost every day. I named him Jeremiah because…well… you know why.  Now I bet you can’t get the song out of your head. 😉

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So there you have it.   It’s very overgrown so we have a lot of work cut out for us.  Next time I’ll post all of the interior photos.  We have already started making some changes so I’ll definitely  show some before and after shots.

XOXO,

Geralyn

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Chi-Town & The Big Apple

   This was a wedding gift for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  My brother-in-law is from New York and my sister-in-law is from Chicago.  She moved to New York, they met, they fell in love, they got married…

ImageI went online and googled state outlines for New York and Illinois.  After I sized them in Microsoft Word, I printed them onto card stock.  I used an X-Acto knife to cut them out and then outlined them using a sharpie.  I then glued the states onto a sheet of parchment paper.  I used sage but this comes in a variety of colors.  I added little hearts to the exact place where they lived and then wrote there names on the bottom.  I bought the frame at Michaels.  This project makes a great personalized shower or wedding gift for a couple from different states or even countries.

Life’s a Beach

This is another wanderlust creation.  My love of travel can be found all around my home.  This is a super easy project and a great way to keep track of different beaches that you visit.Image

All you need is a mason jar (the taller the better), clear labels, and sand from the beaches that you visit.

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I started with sand from the town where I live.  If you don’t live by the beach, just start with your first trip.  You may want to start with your honeymoon or another special trip.  I printed the location and the date on labels using Microsoft Word and just cut the labels to size.  As I visit another beach, I add another layer of sand.  I love comparing the color of the sand from different places.  I keep this jar on my mantle and enjoy watching it fill up.

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Happy Travels 🙂

DIY Shell Planter

I have lots of plants in my house and like to get a little creative with the pots I keep them in.  Since I love and live near the beach a lot of my decor has a beach theme.  ImageMaterials: clay pot (any size), paint, paintbrush, shells (store bought or if you’re a beachcomber like me, your beach treasures), glue gun, glue

ImageYou can start by painting the upper rim of the pot any color you like.  I chose white but a sea foam green or light turquoise would look great too.  Once the paint is dry just start hot gluing the shells all around the pot.  I think I know the title for my next post…”Hot Glue Guns : DIYers Friend or Foe”  Don’t get me wrong, I love my hot glue gun but I can never seem to escape getting a blister every time I use it.  Tip: Start with the larger shells and then fill in the empty spaces with smaller shells.  Feel free to overlap the shells.  Keep adding shells until the pot is completely filled.  Really there is no way to mess this up…just play around with it until you are happy with the result.  ImageYup, there’s Daisy again…she follows me wherever I go.

ImageThis little fellow, my fat happy Buddha, I got at a jade market on our trip to Hong Kong last summer.  I think a person’s home should tell their story.  Almost everything I display is my house was either made by me, made by a family member, or a memento from a trip.  I like that everything is personalized and has a story behind it rather then mass produced in a factory.

Happy creating 🙂

Where in the World?

I am a wanderlust.  I love to travel anywhere and everywhere.  I can’t get enough of it.  Some people collect cars.  Some people collect coins.  I collect experiences.  I collect stamps in my passport.  I collect pins on my map. I would much rather do something than have something.  For every birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc. my husband always asks what I want.  My answer is always the same… I don’t want a physical present.  Sure gifts are great but I’d rather have an experience.  A trip (near or far), a broadway show, a day spent together doing anything really.

Anyway back to travel.  We have gotten to see some pretty awesome places on this earth and a lot of my DIY inspirations are because of our travels.  This project was super easy and it’s always fun to add another pin to our map.

ImageMaterials: bulletin board, acrylic paint, map, pins, card stock

I painted the bulletin board white and then sponged on a little tan to make it look a little aged since the map is a vintage style.  After the paint is dry, just staple the map to the bulletin board.

I printed the title on card stock and then burned the edges to make it look a little bit aged.  (I recommend doing this close to a sink just in case.  The paper can burn very quickly…we don’t want any accidents.)

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Now you’re ready to start adding pins to your map.  The blue are domestic travels and the red are international.  You can use any colors you like.

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Happy pinning!

DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters

I saw the inspiration for these coasters on Pinterest.  They sort of remind me of tie dye (I love all things tie dye) so I had to try them out.

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Materials: ceramic tiles, alcohol ink ( I used Adirondack which can be found at any craft store), Alcohol Blending Solution (or rubbing alcohol will work), Alcohol Ink Mixative Gold & Silver, alcohol ink aplicator, paintbrush, paint, Modge Podge, aerosol finishing spray, felt pads for the bottom

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Of course Daisy has to check out everything that I’m doing…so she’s sure to sneak in to some of my photos.

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Instructions: 

~ Start by dripping little spots of ink onto your tile.  The colors might start to blend together. Keep adding more color, until you have covered your surface completely. You can play around with different color combos.  I tried a few different ones to see how they would come out.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Allow the ink to slide around before adding your next color.

~Add a few drops of either the silver or gold mixative (or get crazy and add both!) Remember there are no mistakes…you can always go back and use the alcohol to get rid of anything you’re not happy with.

~ Next, add a few drops of the alcohol solution or rubbing alcohol to the felt on your applicator.  Now this is the fun part! Start pressing the applicator to different spots on the tile and watch how the ink reacts.  Continue doing this until you are happy with the results.

~Use a paintbrush and some acrylic paint to paint the sides of the tile.  This will cover up any drips you may have from the ink.

~Let everything dry and now you are ready to add any quotes, pictures, stamps, etc.  I just printed some quotes onto regular copy paper about the beach and ocean (you know I’m a beach bum)  I used Modge Podge (aka godsend to DIYers) to attach the paper to the coasters.

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~Once your Modge Podge is dry, spray your tiles with varnish in a well ventilated area to seal.  I sprayed mine out on the deck and left them to dry.  Of course you should make sure it’s not supposed to rain when you do this…I of course did not.  The paper on one of the coaster has a little bit of a bubble, but hey you get the idea.

~After your varnish has dried, put the felt pads on the back and enjoy!

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The Finished Product

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And there you have it…

These could make an awesome addition to a housewarming gift basket with maybe a bottle of wine and some wine glasses.  (My obsession with theme gift baskets will have to be saved for another post.)

Happy creating!

Someone’s Trash is Someone Else’s Treasure

I love seeing the potential something has.  I love going to garage sales or antique shops and finding a piece and thinking, “I can work with that!”  These are some of my past finds and what they have been transformed into.  Sorry I don’t have step by step instructions or specific colors used for these…they were BTB (Before the Blog).  I promise future posts will have more details.

It’s amazing what some paint and sandpaper can do.  I found this piece at a local garage sale for $40.

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This was a piece I found on Craigslist for $15.

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I absolutely LOVE anything mosaic!  I found this piece at a garage sale.  It was missing the middle insert.  The guy who was selling it said it was originally a slate slab that had cracked.  I think I paid $5 for it.  Some paint, a plywood insert, some smashed tiles from Home Depot, a little bit of grout, and voila, a mosaic table is born!  Did I mention how happy everything mosaic makes me?? 🙂Image

New Beginnings

Well, this is the very beginning of what I hope to be a great journey.  A creative journey.  A life journey.  I have been wanting to share my projects for a while now but life always seems to get in the way.  So I figured why not just start? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Right? So I’m taking that step…