Christmas Break To-Do List

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hooray for Christmas break!!!

Our site is officially closed from December 24th – January 1st and I’m using some vacation time to take today, tomorrow, and January 2nd off, so I have 2 full weeks off! I’m so excited! I’m planning on spending a few days with my parents, but the rest of the time will be spent at home. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to the zoo and some other activities, but I also want to get some projects done around the house.

Just like previous years I’ve put together a Christmas Break to-do list (you can see the previous lists here). I’ve put 10 projects on my list, but of course I’m not going to finish them all. I like to give myself options.

Build Laundry Room Countertop

Replace Living Room Baseboards

New Artwork for Kitchen

Re-Caulk Master Bathroom Shower

Replace Office Outlets and Switches with New White Ones

Organize Craft Room

Sew Living Room Throw Pillows

Hang Twinkle Lights on Back Porch

Artwork for Office

Paint End Table and/or Entry Bench

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ll be back in 2015 to share what I accomplished over Christmas break plus some new, fun projects!

Christmas Mantle/Tree

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I’m sure you’re sick of seeing everyone’s Christmas home tours by now, but I promise mine will just be this one post. I put most of my Christmas decorations out the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I’ve been tweaking and adding things for the past week or so. Now that Christmas is only two weeks away, it’s time to stop messing around and just enjoy the decorations.

First, let’s start with the mantle:

As you might have noticed, I bought new stockings this year! For the past few years we’ve been using those cheap red and white furry stockings, so we were definitely due for an upgrade. I found these at Kirklands for $9.99/each. The glitter letters are from Wal-Mart and we’ve been using them for the past few years. I also reused the pine garland from last year’s mantle.

My mom bought me that giant nutcracker a few years ago. I think some nutcrackers look pretty creepy, but I like that guy. He’s cool looking. The twig snowflake is from Big Lots.

Ok, now let’s talk tree:

Our tree looks pretty similar to last year’s because I used the same garland and ornaments.

Although, I did buy a few new ornaments during the after-Christmas sales last year and we bought this moose while we were in Alaska this summer.

Oh, and I also have a tree skirt this year! I bought it at K-Mart after Christmas last year. I love it and surprisingly Ringo hasn’t chewed off any of the pompoms…yet…Please ignore all of the dog hair!

Other than that I just put out my usual decorations. I do want to share my new favorite piece. I bought this angel at Joann’s after Christmas last year for $8 (originally $40, I think). I think she’s so pretty and love how woodsy she looks. 

Now that the Christmas decorations are up, it’s time to finish shopping and start wrapping!

Flashback Friday: December

Friday, December 5, 2014

I completely forgot about Flashback Friday in November, so I’m doing December’s now before holiday mania takes over and I forget again. Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!  Surprisingly, I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done already, so I’m pretty proud of myself. I still need to wrap everything though…Anyway, today we’re looking back at some of my favorite December posts from years past.

OK, let’s kick this off with a flashback to December 2013 –

This abstract art is one of my favorite projects and one that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I don’t consider myself to be artistic whatsoever, but I’m really happy with how this abstract painting turned out. I took it down to hang my travel gallery wall, so sadly it’s just sitting my closet right now. I’m still trying to figure out another place to hang it.

I make this peppermint bark almost every year…it’s so easy! I end up eating a lot of it myself, but it also makes a great small gift for neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc.

Let’s rewind another year and look at December 2012 –

Wow! I didn’t realize it’s already been 2 years since I painted our front door red! I still love the color and the HOA hasn’t busted me yet, so I’m still really happy with my decision to paint the door. The paint has held up really well too…seriously, it looks just as good as when I first painted it.

This isn’t my favorite Christmas mantle that I’ve decorated, but it was our first Christmas with both dogs, so it’s a special one. This year I’m using those white angels on the console table in the living room. It’s nice to have another long space to decorate! I’m still working on this year’s mantle. Hopefully I’ll have that for y’all next week.

Time to go WAY back to December 2011 – my first year of blogging!

Three years ago I participated in the 12 Crafty Days of Christmas at Before Meets After and I shared how to make cinnamon applesauce ornaments. They are super simple and cheap to make. And now that I think about it, I still have a few of the ornaments that I made for this post! I’m kind of surprised they survived this long.

Every year I make a bunch of different treats and give them to my boyfriend’s family for Christmas. I think the dipped pretzels are their favorite, so I make those every year. Other than that I usually rotate a few different recipes plus I like to try a least one new treat every year.

This year I think I’m going to make the dipped pretzels, this saltine cracker toffee (pure deliciousness), and I’m going to try this cowgirl cookie bark. Plus I’m going to bake some dog treats for all of the dogs in the family. I usually use this recipe, but I think I’m going to try these pumpkin peanut butter treats this year.

So that’s what I’ve been up to in December for the past three years. It’s been fun looking back at what I’ve been up to during the past three holiday seasons.

The Friday Five

Friday, November 21, 2014

One – The Farm to Table French Phrasebook

I was sent a copy of The Farm to Table French Phrasebook for review a couple weeks ago. First off, I have to say that the cover is so cute! It’s definitely a book that you can show off on a shelf. The book is a fun way to learn some basic French words and would be perfect for a trip to Paris. Although when we were in France I would greet people with Bonjour and then they would rattle off in French and I’d end up with a stupid look on my face because I had no idea what they were saying. So I usually said both Hello and Bonjour. Anyway, the book also contains tips about etiquette and traditions in French culture that'll save you from embarrassing yourself or accidently offending someone. Plus there's some delicious-sounding French recipes in the back of the book, such as French Onion Soup (my favorite). Hopefully someday I'll get to go back to France and I can I try out of some of the words and tips I learned in this book...and so that I can drink wine with every meal without being judged ;)

Two – Bowling


Yesterday was the last night of our bowling league. My average stayed about the same from the first week to the last week (about 109). I did bowl 160 in one of the games last week! That was by far my best game ever. As a team, I think we ended up in second or third place. We started last night in second place, but we lost 2 of the 3 games, so I think we might have dropped to third. We'll hear the final results today or Monday. Overall, it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It was cool seeing people outside of work relaxed and having fun. I’m hoping we start another league after the holidays.

Three – Black Friday


Who else is planning on doing some Black Friday shopping next week? I’ve been looking at the leaked ads online and making a shopping list for the different stores. So far I have the biggest list for Kohl’s. They seem to have some of the best prices plus there’s usually an additional 15%-off coupon code available and you get $15 Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent…and most of the deals are available online early so you don’t even have to fight the crowds. I think I’m going to buy myself a KitchenAid Mixer on Black Friday. After discounts and mail-in-rebates I think it’ll be about $140 plus I’ll get $45 in Kohl’s cash. I’ve always wanted one and I think that’s the best deal I’m going to find on a new one.

Four – Series Finales


Some of my favorite TV shows are ending/have ended recently and I’m totally bummed! True Blood, Sons of Anarchy, White Collar, and Justified are the main ones that I’ll be missing. Although I agree that it’s time for most of them to wrap up, I’m still sad. I feel like series finales are usually disappointing, so hopefully these end without being a big WTF moment (I’m looking at you Dexter).

I finally caught up on New Girl and I started watching the new USA show Benched to fill the void, but I’m open for suggestions. What are some of your favorite TV shows?

Five – Winter is Coming


It’s finally cooling down in Phoenix. I had to wear a jacket for the first time this week! Of course that means it’s been like 50 degrees…I’m sure most of my Northern/Eastern friends are rolling their eyes, but that’s cold for us. Honestly, the winters here are the main reason most of us put up with such hot summers. 


New Name, New Design

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Junk House is now officially Away She Went! You can read more about the name change here. I think I’ve successfully updated all of the links, but if you come across any issues, please let me know. A big thanks to Jess from Jess Wright Design for coming up with the new design. I love how it turned out!

In honor of the new name and design I thought it would be fun to look back at some my past blog designs.

April 2013 – November 2014  

2012? - March 2013


October 2011 – 2012?

May 2011 - September 2011

February 2011 – April 2011

Master Bathroom Source List and Budget Breakdown

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last week I shared my master bathroom makeover as part of the One Room Challenge. If you haven’t seen the big reveal, check it out here. I promised a source list and budget breakdown post, so here it is. Some of the items I updated/installed before the challenge, so I’m not going to count them in the budget, but I’ve added them to the source list for reference.

Source List:

Wall Color – Stone Age by Valspar
Vanity Color – Ultra Pure White by Behr

Light Fixture - Home Depot
Countertop – St. Paul custom vanity top from Home Depot
Replacement Drawer/Drawer Fronts – Horizon Cabinet Door Co.
Drawer Pulls – Martha Stewart Polished Nickel from Home Depot
Glass Jar for Q-tips – Goodwill
Tissue Box Holder - Savers
Medicine Cabinets – Home Depot (more details here)
Frame – Michael’s
Artwork – DIY project (inspired by this artwork)
Towels – Threshold Textured towels from Target
Trashcan – Amazon/DIY project (more details here)
Towel Rod – allen + roth Raleigh line from Lowe’s (more details here)
Toilet Paper Holder – allen + roth Raleigh line from Lowe’s
Shower Curtain – eBay (originally from Target, but no longer in stores)
Shower Curtain Rings – Shabby Chic line from Target

One Room Challenge Budget Breakdown:

Wall Paint: $25.92
Vanity Paint: $12.58
Countertop: $744.46
Caulking: $6.53
Replacement drawer: $17.93
Drawer Fronts: $58.68
Drawer Pulls: $4.48 x 6 = $26.88
Hinges: $2.98 x 3 = $8.94
Misc Plumbing Parts: $19.27
Trim for Mirror: $9.12 x 5 = $45.60
Glass Jar (q-tip holder): $1.49
Picture Frame: $24.79
Artwork: free
Bath Towels/Hand Towels/Wash Cloths: $74.87
Shower Curtain: $24.99
TOTAL: $1092.93

I don’t think that’s too bad for a bathroom makeover. 70% of that is the countertop, which was totally worth it. Also, it would have been $20 less if I hadn’t screwed up cutting two of the trim pieces for the mirror. I cut them too short, so I had to buy 2 more pieces. haha, whoops!

Oh, and I mentioned in the reveal that I was thinking about adding a pull to the false drawer front and a few of you agreed. It was a quick/easy update, but I think it looks so much better. Thanks to Thanh for originally pointing it out!

So, let’s quickly talk about what’s left to do…I still need to re-caulk around the shower and I’m still on the lookout for a few more accessories, including a rug. One of these days I’d love to switch up the door so that it opens out into the bedroom. That would give the small bathroom so much more space. Other than that, I’m calling this bathroom done!

Paint Room
Replace Missing Drawer
Fix Original Drawer and Add Drawer Front

Install Replacement False Drawer Front
Paint Vanity
Add Pulls to Doors /Drawers
New Countertop
Frame Large Mirror
New Shower Curtain
New Towels
Re-Caulk Shower

Buy Bath Mat

ORC Week 6 – Master Bathroom Reveal

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It’s the final week of the One Room Challenge and I’m thrilled to announce that I actually finished my room! Before we get to the pictures I want to thank Linda from Calling It Home for hosting the challenge and all of her hard work behind the scenes. Honestly, this room would still look like the before pictures if I didn’t join the challenge, so a big thanks to Linda for the motivation. Don’t forget to check out the reveals from the official participants (here) and the other linking participants (here). There are some amazing rooms out there!

OK, let’s take a quick look back at what I started with. When I bought the house the bathroom was painted a horrible green color, the toilet didn’t flush, no toilet paper holder, towel bar or baseboards, and one of the drawers was missing from the vanity. This is the only picture I have the bathroom before we started working on it. You can see more before pictures here.

We fixed/replaced all of the broken and missing items (except for the drawer) over the past few years, but the room was still in need of some serious work. I had planned to start the makeover last summer, but that didn’t happen, so this room ended up being the perfect room for the One Room Challenge. And after six hard weeks, here’s how the bathroom looks now:

I can’t believe how different it looks! The vanity area turned out just how I imagined it would. I love the new countertop, painted vanity, and framed mirror.

I still can’t believe how much better the vanity looks with a fresh coat of paint and replacement drawer. I’m still debating if I should add a pull to the false drawer front in the middle. I’m thinking yes…(*Update 11/13/14* - I added a pull to the middle "drawer")

I also love the new shower curtain, towels and artwork. I had a hard time finding a picture for this room, so I ended up painting this myself. It tested my (limited) artistic abilities and patience, but it turned out pretty well.

I still need to caulk around the shower, but I ran out of time and that was the first project to get cut. I also want to add a few more accessories, but I haven’t been able to find exactly what I’m looking for yet. Someday I’d like to re-hang the door to open out into the bedroom so the bathroom isn’t so cramped, but other than that, this room is officially done. I’m still pulling together all of my receipts, so I’ll share a full source list and budget breakdown next week. (*Update 11/13/14* - source list and budget breakdown here)


ORC Week 5 – White Vanity

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome to Week 5 of the One Room Challenge! It’s the final week before next week’s big reveal! I feel pretty good about my progress and my chances at finishing the room, but there’s still plenty left to do and I’m feeling the pressure.

This was probably my most productive and transformative week of the challenge. I don’t want to post too many pictures and ruin the big reveal, but the vanity is finally done and it looks amazing! The transformation started Friday night when my boyfriend and I removed the old countertop. Luckily it wasn’t glued in place, so I only had to cut through the caulk to remove it.

On Saturday I painted the cabinet, drawers, and the backside of the doors. The miracle of white paint never ceases to amaze me! On Sunday I finished painting the front of the doors. I used Behr Premium Plus Paint + Primer (satin finish) in Ultra Pure White to paint everything. It took three coats of paint to cover the dark wood, but so far there hasn’t been any bleed through.

Sunday night my boyfriend installed the new countertop. I’m glad he’s strong because that sucker is heavy and I never would have been able to lift it myself. I could barely even scoot the box across the carpet…haha. This is as close to a full shot as you’re going to get until the reveal. It’s definitely a rough shot, but it gives you a good idea of how the vanity is going to look. As of this picture I still had to caulk around the vanity, touch up a few dings in the wall from removing/installing the countertop, and of course, install the rest of the doors/drawers.

I’ll be honest – I don’t love the wall color with the new vanity countertop. Based on the sample, I was expecting to countertop to be more white and not as gray. I don’t have enough time to fix it for the One Room Challenge, but I’ll probably end up re-painting the walls (again!). I’m hoping I just need to get used to it and it’ll grow on me because I really don’t want to paint this room for a third time.

Let’s take one last look at the to-do list before next week’s reveal! There’s still plenty of work and shopping left to do, but I’m feeling good about this last week!

Paint Room
Buy Missing Drawer ReplacementInstall Replacement Drawer and Drawer Front
Fix Original Drawer and Add Drawer Front
Install Replacement False Drawer Front
Paint Vanity
Add Pulls to Doors/Drawers
New Countertop
Frame Large Mirror
New Shower Curtain
Re-Caulk Shower
New Towels
Buy Bath Mat

Don’t forget to check out the official participants (here) and the other linking participants (here)!

Flashback Friday: October

Friday, October 24, 2014

Can you believe it’s almost Halloween?! I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by! Anyway, today we’re looking back at some of my favorite October posts from years past.

OK, let’s kick this off with a flashback to October 2013 –

Looking back through the archives, October 2013 was all about England. I’m so happy that I wrote detailed posts about all of our stops and experiences on our trip. It’s been fun re-reading them and pretending I’m back in England touring castles. Hopefully I’ll get to go back within the next couple of years *fingers crossed*

Last year I scored one of my best Craigslist finds – a like-new La-Z Boy sleeper sofa! We’ve had a few people sleep on it over the past year and they’ve all said that it’s surprisingly comfortable for a pull-out bed. The dogs are also a big fan of the sofa – Abby sleeps on it whenever I’m working in the office and I’m pretty sure Ringo sleeps on it for a few hours every night. Definitely one of my best purchases!

Let’s rewind another year and look at October 2012 –

Although this table has since been painted navy and then completely replaced with a new table, I still love this color (Lagoon by Martha Stewart). It’s crazy to see how much that wall has transformed over the past two years. I’m really happy with how it looks now (I just need to add accessories), so I don’t think we’ll be seeing any big changes to this wall anytime soon.

I wish our front yard looked this clean and festive right now! Actually, I’d be happy if it looked like the before picture. Thanks to all the rain we’ve been having lately, the weeds in our front yard are completely out of control! I still need to decorate the porch for fall too. I’m going to have to take care of it soon before I get a letter from the HOA forcing me to clean it up. Maybe that should be my weekend project…

Time to go WAY back to October 2011 – my first year of blogging!

This kitchen artwork post has been one of my most popular to date. I still get requests for a copy of the printable. And yes, it’s still hanging in my kitchen. I’ve been planning to replace it for awhile now, but I just keep procrastinating. I think I want to use the same saying, but paint it onto a piece of wood/pallet sign.  It would go a better with the rest of my décor.

Three years ago my boyfriend, his brothers and his dad built our new gate. It’s held up really well and is still one of the best outdoor projects we’ve completed. I also love this post because it includes a couple of cute Ringo puppy pictures. Look at that little face peeking though the gate!

So that’s what I’ve been up to in October for the past three years. It’s been fun looking back at the places I’ve traveled and seeing how much the house has changed over the past few years.

ORC Week 4 – It’s Here!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It’s Week 4 of the One Room Challenge and I’m feeling significantly better about my room than I was last week. The new countertop for the vanity was delivered on Tuesday! Originally it wasn’t scheduled to arrive until October 31st at the earliest, but then last week delivery was moved up to October 27th. And then on Monday I checked the tracking number and it said it would be delivered on Tuesday! I can't wait to open it up and see how it looks! Hopefully I measured correctly...

My goal this week was to cross off some of the smaller projects in anticipation for the larger vanity, mirror, and countertop projects. I’m happy to report that I was able to cross a few of those off this week. I cleaned the paint mistakes off of the mirror and I installed the drawer front on the new drawer! Yes, after three and a half years I officially have a drawer in that spot!

I was hoping to find all of my accessories this weekend, but I only ended up with new towels. They are from the Threshold line at Target and they match the blue in the butterflies and birds perfectly. I also like that the waviness of the towels adds a little texture to the room.

I only have two more weeks to finish the room, so I definitely need to pick up the pace this week. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to finish the following: remove the old countertop, paint the vanity, install replacement drawer front, fix the original drawer and add new drawer front, add remaining hardware/new hinges, install new countertop, and continue the search for artwork and accessories. That would just leave the mirror, caulking the shower, and accessories/styling for the final week. I think it’s doable…famous last words?

Paint Room
Buy Missing Drawer Replacement
Install Replacement Drawer and Drawer Front

Fix Original Drawer and Add Drawer Front
Install Replacement False Drawer Front
Paint Vanity
Add Pulls to Doors/Drawers
New Countertop
Frame Large Mirror
New Shower Curtain
Re-Caulk Shower
New Towels
Buy Bath Mat

Don't forget to check out the rest of the rooms linked up! There's some great projects going on right now!

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