Monday, July 27, 2015

Click, Click, Click.....You're Going to be a Grandparent!!!

Telling your family you are expecting a baby, which in turn will make them a grandparent or great grandparent, is obviously a big deal and an event we really looked forward to. We knew our families would be super excited about this news especially since this would be the first grandchild/great-grandchild for most of them, so we wanted to be sure the way in which we told them was special and memorable. 

Our goal was to tell as many of them together as possible so we decided to wait until Father’s Day weekend to reveal our news. This gave us some time to figure out how exactly we wanted to tell everyone. We tossed around a ton of ideas, but nothing felt right quite right until one day, out of nowhere Brent came up with a genius idea. 

Do you remember these things from childhood? They are called View-Masters and even if you didn’t actually own one, you are probably familiar with the concept. Insert picture reel, hold contraption up to your eyes and click through to view the images. So, Brent’s all like "what if we could find a way to have custom reels made for each dad/grandfather? And what if we filled their discs with pictures of us and them and then what if the last picture was the ultrasound..."

Um…..YES!!! It sounded like a great plan! No one would see it coming. The guys would think it was just a fun gag gift and would never in a million years expect to click to a picture that delivered that kind of news. It was brilliant, so we began perusing the Internet to see if custom reels were even possible. Well, guess what, they ARE possible and there is a company called Image3D that makes creating one simple with a capital "S". 

We had 5 reels to make and each reel had 6 slots so we began gathering pictures of each dad/grandfather/step dad and preparing the customized reels. The site allowed you to name and save the reels and edit each of them by adding or deleting photos as we refined our selections.

We had a lot of fun crafting each reel and working on the final product. We opted to purchase a view master with each reel so they would be good to go upon delivery. Each view master + real came in it's own small white box which we put a bow on and poof our Father's Day gifts were ready to go. 

Our plan was to give three of the view masters out in person and two would be sent down south to Tifton and Florida. To ensure no one was able to crack into the gift before we were ready we purchased two boxes from Michaels that Brent outfitted with locks and a note that said we would call them with the code when it was time to open. 

Father’s Day weekend rolled around and we were so excited to get this cat out of the bag! It had been a long 13 weeks! We had my dad and Brent’s dad in town and all of us headed to my PapaJack and Grandmother’s house for a lasagna dinner. We decided to be open with the exact timing of the gift giving. We didn’t want to seem too eager or unnatural so we just kind of let things unfold organically. After we finished eating, we were all sitting around the table chatting when I announced that Brent and I wanted to kick off the gift giving with a fun silly gift. I handed out the three boxes and we sat back and watched…..

Initially the table laughed when they saw the view masters and the dad’s began clicking through the pictures one by one. They thought it was fun and clever we got all of the pictures of them inside and laughed and commented as they click, click, clicked through. Suddenly, almost simultaneously they all clicked to the last slide:

 and said “WHAT!” 

Almost instantly the table burst into screams and gasps as everyone grabbed for the view masters for their chance to look through the lens. They screamed, cried, laughed, clapped and did all of the other things you do when you are genuinely freaking out. It was awesome! Shortly after we got on the phone with the rest of the gang and gave them the code to open their boxes. Their reactions were equally as hilarious and enthusiastic. It was awesome! I'm pretty sure we win the prize for best Father's Day present of all time and come December, we will have best Christmas present in the bag too. Sorry, siblings....muhahaha. 

Our parents and grandparents loved us before, sure, but this baby has been a game changer for us popularity wise.  It was literally as if in a flash you go from "oh yeah, we love you Courtney and Brent" to….YOU ARE OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! Can we get you ANYTHING?! A sandwich, a back-rub, a  pony?? Instant rockstar status. 

As excited as we are about this baby, having our families in on the news just sweetens the deal!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIY - Swing Bed

Our back deck has received a LOT of love and attention since we purchased our house back in 2012.  We have built our outdoor kitchen, installed a covered TV, painted the deck and now...... we have DIY'ed ourselves a swing bed!

It's 68" x 39" of pure swinging comfort. 

The whole set up is quite an upgrade from where we started and the ultimate cherry on top for our deck. Well, the ultimate cherry would probably be a hot tub, but I don't think we can DIY one those, so this is the next best thing.

Here's where we started:

The pergola and original swing came with the house and worked quite nicely for awhile. Then, one fateful day one too many people sat on the swing at one of our parties, something popped and well, the swing became a hazard. Instead of just replacing it with the same ol' thing we decided to try our hand at making a swing bed. We had seen a few swing beds in magazines and on home tours and Brent felt it would be relatively easy to DIY so we decided to give it a whirl.

We got the ball rolling by ordering the over sized swing cushion from The Porch Swing Company. This site had a ton of options in both size and color.

Once the giant cushion got here we headed over to Home Depot to pick up supplies. We bought:
  • (2) 4 x 4's to form the cross pieces and main supports of the bed.
  • (2) 2 x 4's which we cut into five pieces to create the bridge to the 4 x 4's. 

Slats were run across the 2 x 4's to form the seat. Oh, and Brent's brother Scott was a big player in this project, he has good ideas and muscles so in general he is always welcome around our projects. 

We went with the slats instead of a solid piece of plywood so water could easily drain through the seat when it rained. 

Using a Kreg Jig we screwed the newly formed bench into the 4 x 4's.

With the base of the bed complete, we screwed vertical 2 x 4's on the corners for main rail supports and evenly spaced 1 x 4's along the perimeter.

Scott decided to get creative and give the arm rests a little personality with deep flares as the arms come out. Here he is below perfecting the finished product.

With the arm rests finished they were drilled into the corner supports along with a 2 x 4 across the back. 

And to add just one more layer of cool to the arms, the boys decided to create built-in cup holders.  We brought down some drink props to identify the cutout diameter we would need and used a hole saw to drill a hole through each arm. 

With the swing constructed it was time to paint! Last year we had the deck and surrounding areas painted white and gray and decided to keep with these existing colors for the swing. Because the pergola was white we decided on gray for the swing and got to painting....

While the swing dried, we headed back to Home Depot to pick up supplies to hang the swing from the pergola. We tossed around a couple of different ideas like rope and over sized chain, but ended up coming up with something a little different. We were in the chain aisle when we came across some cable and thought THIS could be cool.  

We loved the idea that the cable and associated parts could really bring an industrial vibe to the overall look.

As Brent got everything installed and hooked up, we began to like the cable even more! It's so thin and understated while still providing the weight support we needed. It's perfect!

With the swing hung, it was time to adorn that beast with some pillows. As we looked around at the different options, we quickly realized outdoor pillows can be expensive! So we took our time and dug deep until we found some cool options that weren't a zillion dollars. (I've listed the resources to all of those still available at the bottom of the post.) To keep the pillows looking fresh I typically keep them inside unless they are being used. As for the big cushion, we just let him sit out in the elements all of the time (it's a mold resistant outdoor cushion). He's held up pretty well and he's pretty easy to wipe off before use. We may end up getting a cover for the winter. we will see how it goes. 

The whole set up is sturdy, sleek and a mid-day nappers paradise! We have really enjoyed having this little addition on our deck and while the whole process took us about two weekends to finish, it was relatively simple and inexpensive project, which is always a win-win around here. 

Resources | Large Outdoor Pillows, Floral Outdoor Pillows, Turquoise Outdoor Pillows, Buffalo Check Pillow (not outdoor fabric), Umbrella, Swing Bed Cushion and Rug.

All photos are my own. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015 - June Recap

YOU GUYS...thank you SO much for the sweet, sweet comments on our big announcement last week. We so appreciate your excitement and encouragement, it makes the whole experience that much sweeter!

I just got back from 5 fun days in Jamaica, went to work for a day and now I'm enjoying a 3-day weekend. It's a hard life, I know....Despite all of the excitement surrounding June I have been somewhat productive and wrote 7 articles over on, here's a little recap...

A taupe kitchen can be SO warm, inviting and chic'. Over the year's I've designed quite a few kitchens that donned the taupe hue and each and every time the results were beautiful. In this article I'm writing about my favorite taupe paint colors as wells as a few on my "to try list".

2. Meet the Steam Oven

The Wolf Convection Steam unit is truly the bomb dot com. I'm writing all about the features this little appliance has that is sure to make even the most amateur cook (cough, cough...ME! ) look like a pro. 

3. Walk-in Pantry vs. Cabinet Pantry

This comparison or "battle" may see nuts seeing as how most of us would agree that storage is storage...HOWEVER some spaces allow for one vs the other and the debate on which is better can get SERIOUS. People love their storage and over the years it's been hard to convince clients to re-think how they store their goods. In this article I talk about the pros and cons of each pantry solution. 

4. What's in a Name? Exploring Today's Most Popular Design Styles

A few weeks ago I posted about this Tuscan Kitchen Keri Perry and I designed and it got me to designers we throw around words like Tuscan, traditional, modern and transitional all the time but what do these titles actually mean? I break down the specifics within several design styles in this article.  

5. 5 Easy Ways to Give the Standard Subway Tile Backsplash New Life

The subway tile is undoubtedly one of the most popular backsplash selections on the market today. In this article I'm talking about a few easy ways to add some pizazz to your subway tile that will set it a part and make it feel a lot more custom and considered. 

6. Is White Marble the Worst Idea Ever?

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked "is white marble the worst idea ever?" Heck, I even asked myself that same question when it came to picking the tops for my kitchen. It's a tricky question and people definitely have their opinions, both good and bad. In this article I'm sharing my honest opinion and experience regarding the tempting stone. 

Over the years I have worked with many different remodelers on various projects and I have seen first hand how important it is to pick the right remodeler for you and your project. Selecting the right team is not only crucial for the successful execution of your project but your sanity. In this article I'm full of tips and suggestions for finding your dream team. 

Well, that's a wrap on my June articles! As always I'm eager to hear from you all if you think up a topic you would like me to cover over on my pageHappy 4th of July weekend everyone!