Thursday, January 22, 2015

The House

After a year of searching we finally found a house. We actually found it this summer, but it took a while for the sellers to come down in price. The house is in a great location, has a beautiful lot, and is really well constructed - but it needs lots of updating. We had a contractor help us ball park all the work that the house would require and used to help make the case for what the sellers probably thought was an insulting offer. We came in much, much lower than the asking price.

After some great negotiating by our realtor and a little drama over a previously undisclosed abandoned oil tank - we got the house. We closed the day after my husband turned 40. Happy birthday to him! work started the next day. I'll share everything we plan to do to the house in my next post. I thought I'd start with a little tour of the house (as it looked before work started).

Before we jump into pictures it might help to see floor plans.

Main Level, Third Floor, and Garage 
Basement (most of which is above grade), and Second Floor
Any pictures with furniture were taken during the inspection or were from the listing photos. Sorry the quality on many of these isn't great - a lot of them were taken with my phone. Be warned, there are quite a few pictures...


close up of the the foyer floors

Dining room 

Den (to become my husband's office) 

Living room 

hallway from living room to master

Family room

view of den from kitchen
Breakfast Area 


Laundry Room


Master Study 

Master Bath 

Bedrooms on Second Floor (these rooms are almost identical) 

landing between rooms 
Third Floor (to become my studio space) 

Rec Room

the bar

Bedroom (to become playroom)

Bedroom with Kitchenette

Guest Bath


So thats the house. I am a lucky girl. I can't wait to share the progress as our vision for this house becomes a reality. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

40 for 40!

I had planned to post all of my handmade Christmas gifts by now, but one snow day and two school delays have thrown me off schedule. Oh, and did I mention that we bought a house (more on that later)!

In the midst of it all, I decided to take on a rather ambitious project for my husbands' 40th birthday. When he turned 30, my now brother in-law and I threw him and his twin sister a surprise party in CO. He requested no party this year - but I still wanted to do something BIG! So I gave him a BIG box filled with 40 presents.

Coming up with 40 gifts - without spending a fortune - is hard! I found lots of inspiration on Pinterest (where I also got the idea for 40 gifts). The kids helped me with several of the gifts and I included gifts from family in the count. Here's what I came up with. He started opening first thing in the morning.

1. Card from me. I made so many gifts that I opted to buy him a card. In addition to wishing him a happy birthday, I explained some of the gifts and when they should be opened.

2. This coffee cup

3. Assortment of his favorites from Dunkin Doughnuts

4. This soap - to remind him that he is "old as dirt."

5. Note from a friend or family member with a funny story or good memory about him. I gave him a total of 10 notes (gifts 8, 11, 14, 17, 19, 24, 27, 30, 32). I attached one of these little pins to each note.

6. "Still Red Hot" jar of candy. I used my Silhouette Cameo to make the label for the jar. I found the jars here.

7. Bottle of champagne (with instructions to put it on ice for later).

9. Record from the 70's. My husband is a bit of an audiophile and is really into records. His sister gave him 5 records - one from the 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's to mark the occasion.

10. Visa gift card to use towards the purchase of a new record player. I hid it in an old record that I found at a local thrift store.

12. Portrait of him painted by our son (age 7)

13. Portrait of him painted by our daughter (age 4)

15. 80's record from his sister

16. This t-shirt 

18. A play list (on his ipad) of Billboard's #1 songs the week of his birthday over the years.

20. "What Ails You" voodoo doll. I sewed and stuffed the doll and used paint pens to decorate it. The idea is that you stick a pin the aging problems that ail you - balding, hairy ears, hearing loss, need for reading glasses, etc.

namesake design: what ails you doll

21. 90's record from his sister

22. Card and check from my mom

23. Card and gift card for a round of golf from his parents

25. A little poster I made on PicMonkey to celebrate the occasion. I also posted this on his Facebook Page. 

26. 00's record from his sister

28. "Forty Blows" jar of gumballs

29. "More Fun Than 2 Twenty Year Olds" magnet. I used my Silhouette to make this too. I painted a precut wood square (from some craft store - its been in my stash a while) black, and then used the silhouette to make vinyl lettering. I glued two magnets on the back.

namesake design: more fun magnet

31. "Kiss Your 30's Good-bye" jar of Hershey kisses

33. Book About Daddy. I made this little book out of cork tiles, adhesive glitter paper (that I punched circles out off) and large ring things I found in the beading isle at Joann's. This was my husband's favorite gift. I asked the kids the same five questions (i.e. "I think my Daddy feels very ______ about turning 40")

34. 10's record from his sister

35. Birthday crown and party hats. The kids loved helping make these. 

36. Number candles for his cake (found at Target) 

37. More records (from his wish list) from his parents

38. Etched champagne glasses. I used my silhouette to make vinyl stencils that I stuck on the glasses and painted with etching paste. They were so easy to make and they turned out great. I kinda want to etch everything now!

39 - 40. A little something for his eyes only ;)

I'm not sure how I'll top this when he turns 50! Thankfully I've got 10 years to figure it out.


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