Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top of 2010

Happy (almost) New Year!  2010 was an incredible year for us... We celebrated my dad's 70th birthday, toasted our one-year anniversary with a trip to San Francisco and Sonoma, visited NYC for the first time, enjoyed tons of beach trips, started our long-awaited sunroom project, and were fortunate enough to be part of so many friends' weddings too!

We are so thankful to have our little blog to document all our adventures in being newlyweds... and to all of you for actually reading it!  According to our stats, here are the top 5 Wedded Whittaker posts from 2010...

Honorary mention (aka 6):  Kitchen Cabinets
Even if Jeff will never agree with me, I had to include this fabulous idea for creating a custom cabinet look and adding open shelving.  It just barely missed the top 5 mark, coming in at number 6 (so you readers must have liked the idea too!)

This is still one of my favorite recipes... And I actually just made it for Christmas morning this year!  So easy and a must-try for serving overnight guests!

I loved having a holiday inspiration week!  Glad that so many of you found the ideas helpful in getting your homes ready for the holidays.  I am still having a hard time taking all my decorations down!

Our first ever linky party made number 3 on the list, and I couldn't be more excited!  I have to admit that I was worried about hosting, but it was really fun to link to other bloggers and see everyone's gorgeous decorating ideas!

2:  NYC: Part 2
I was shocked when I saw that part 2 of our New York City trip was the second most-read post this year!  Looks like everyone really does love the city!  Now to convince Jeff that we need a part 3 for next year...

1:  Framed Map Series
Definitely my favorite project of the year too!  I love how the final product came out, and it could not have been easier to pull together.  This is a great solution for a larger wall and can be made with such sentimental value (like ours of the city of New Orleans!)

Here's to 2011 being as happy and as full of family & friends and travels as the past year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Heat It Up!

Jeff ordered our heat source for the sunroom last week and picked it up yesterday afternoon!  We kept going back-and-forth between a wood stove, actually running heating and air out there, and a stove that runs on gas.  Surprisingly enough, we settled on the ProCom Duel Fuel Stove that runs on either propane or gas.

We decided against the wood stove, despite serious consideration, due to the extra costs (the actual stoves are around $400, but the blowers you need to operate them are $200-300 more) and the visual look of having the blower running up and out of the side of our ceiling/roof.

We plan to have a set of pocket doors between the kitchen and sunroom, so we can easily open them during the winter months to have the stove help heat the rest of the house (it can heat 1000 square feet, so it should definitely be able to help out our HVAC).

I am so glad we decided on this one!  Now the question is whether or not this would be able to sit on top of our planned cork flooring... Any thoughts on fire hazards?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Actual Room

Our sunroom progress is really taking shape, and the previous covered deck is starting to look like an actual room!

The main focus has been to get the exterior put on the addition... As of right now, the batten is only primed.  I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that Jeff will let me select a color to paint the brick and batten at the same time.  He is pretty firmly in the do-not-paint-brick camp, while I think it would be a great way to give the different siding styles a cohesive look.

{view of back wall}

We're also thinking about having a stone mason come and add stone around the foundation of the room, and possibly the front porch, if/when we redo the front of the house.

{view from side, opening onto deck}

{view from side, entrance from the driveway}

We are steadily moving along, and I give all the credit in the world to my husband, who comes home from a day in the office to work in the cold & dark and devotes countless weekend hours (some also in the cold & dark) to our project.  And also give tons of thanks to our dads, who have been putting in the hours themselves recently!

In related news, Jeff scored some great gift cards to Lowes & Home Depot for Christmas... Yay for sunroom budget help!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Very Merry

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  We couldn't have asked for a better holiday.  I feel truly overwhelmed by the blessings in our life, especially having our families so close at Christmastime and throughout the year.

We started our celebrations on Thursday night with a get-together at Ray & Amy's with friends.  Friday morning was spent doing a little more baking and wrapping... And Santa made a house-call to see Ellie again this year!

{picture from last year, since I'm a bad blogger & forgot to take one!}

Friday night we attended a church service and grabbed a quick dinner with my parents, then headed to an annual Christmas Eve party with Jeff's family. 

{Whittakers at Christmas Eve party}

We ended the night back at my dad's house and woke up to sure signs of Santa's visit!

Christmas early-morning was spent opening gifts with my parents, then opening gifts with Jeff's family mid-morning, then over to my grandparents' house to eat!  Fortunately, my sister, her husband & son came from South Carolina for the day too! 

{our sweet Ellie girl on Christmas morning}

I really can't say enough how fortunate we are... I feel beyond blessed by the thoughtfulness and love our families give to us!  This week both of my brothers are heading into town with my nephews, and we have New Years Eve plans with great friends at the lake... The celebrating continues!  

{family portrait on Christmas morning}

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the Season...

To be busy!  Sorry for a lack of updates last week... I was called into jury duty on Monday and selected for a trial that lasted all week.  Which was also the same week I had finals for grad school and a few projects to wrap up at work.  Whew!

Fortunately, by Monday, the trial was over, grades were posted (continuing my streak of all As since I met my hubby in senior year of my undergrad), and work projects have been completed!  In other news...

I made Jen's Chocolate Peppermint Bark cookies for a Christmas cookie competition at the hubby's office and was voted 3rd place, out of about 15 entries!

Definitely add these to your holiday baking list!  I ended up making 3 more batches to include in our boxes of Christmas goodies.

I also made Jen's Lady Strawberry cake for his office Christmas party yesterday, by special request from his coworkers... I thought it ended up looking festive with the red strawberries and green bow!

Please ignore the giant baklava pans in the background... Holiday baking has truly taken over our kitchen!  Stay tuned for an easy wreath project (well, at least you can save it for next year!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Linky Party

If you missed yesterday's post, be sure to check out part 1 of our holiday decorating!  I'll mention again that in between all my grad school papers & projects and work, I still have a few finishing touches to make... But here are the second half of our decorations! 

Be sure to join the Holiday Linky Party at the bottom of this post to share yours too!

Amy and I each got a $5 wreath from Home Depot, and both decided it needed a little something more. I found bunches of glitter pine cones on sale at Michael's for $0.29 and a package of red holly berries at the 'Everything's A Dollar' store. It ended up being a really cheap way to change up the wreath!

A new way to display our Christmas cards, and those unused Christmas lights...

And finally... The Christmas tree!  We don't have a themed or color-coordinated tree.  We received almost all of our ornaments at an ornament shower during our engagement.  I absolutely love putting each one on our tree, and thinking about all the family & friends that gifted them to us!

Now let's all share in our first ever Holiday Linky Party!  It's easy... Just click below to enter, select a photo as your thumbnail, and link to your own holiday decorations on your blog!

Can't wait to see all the great ideas for the holidays!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Decorating

Jeff & I did a little holiday decorating last weekend, motivated by all our holiday inspiration images.  I will admit that in between papers, projects and work, I still have a few finishing touches to make... But I wanted to share some today and tomorrow, so that we all have time to inspire each other's decorating too!  Remember to get your pictures ready for our Friday Linky Party!

Last Saturday, my sister came over and helped me get started with our mantel... I noticed that my favorite mantel inspirations had groupings of similar items and/or colors (must go back to my love of symmetry?)  So I went with a red and silver ornament-theme...

I found garland at Wal-Mart for only $2, and battery-powered white lights at Michael's for less than $3, which ended up being much cheaper than purchasing pre-lite garland. 

Most of the other items we already had, with the exception of a few more red ornaments (also found at Wal-Mart for $2.50 for a set of 12)

For our entry table, I found a pretty runner at Home Goods and decided to stick with the gold color-scheme on this table... Adding my 12 Days of Christmas ornaments and gold ornament tree (a yard sale find).

Are you almost done with your decorating?  I have an easy wreath project and a few more decorations for tomorrow (then we can all share in a Linky Party!)  Only 15 days to go... Can you believe it?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For Sale?

Happy Wednesday!  I'm in the middle of my final two weeks of school for the semester, and in the middle of wrapping up multiple work projects before the holidays... Needless to say I'm more caffeinated and stressed than usual.

So for the third day this week... Lots of pictures and updates to come on sunroom progress and decorating! (hopefully by tomorrow)

But, in the meantime, have any of you successfully sold items of clothing/accessories on eBay, Craig's List, or Facebook MarketPlace?  I have a pair of Eddie Bauer riding boots (never worn, but from last year) that don't fit anymore. 

Any advice on selling, or whether I'd be able to recoup any of the original costs?  I took several dresses and a Coach bag to a local consignment shop last month - and got about $30 for them (40% of their selling price, ugh!).  So this time I'm hoping to cut out the middle man...

Tips, advice, and words of caution welcome!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Giving List

I can't wait to show off our holiday decorating from this weekend!  And be sure to get your pictures ready too, because I'll be hosting a linky party later this week... We can all share ideas & pictures with enough time left to actually use them this holiday season!

But for today, I'll be sharing my own holiday wish list... Hopefully this will help inspire you with some gift ideas for someone on your list!

eternity scarf from Etsy... In light gray (pictured) or 'bold blue' to go with my new winter coat (a merry-Christmas-to-me purchase)

holiday tidbit plates by Vera Wang... To dress up our china for the holiday season!

gray leather tote from Etsy... Totally stolen from Bryn's holiday list (she featured in tan, and you can only imagine my excitement to find it in gray!)

the wonderbar... yes, I am asking for face soap for Christmas, but not just any old face wash!  If it makes me look like Erika, then I'd like a stocking-full, Santa!

Revue Retro reading glasses... Just in case asking for face wash didn't make me feel old, I wanted to throw in a new pair of reading glasses.  But I do get tired of leaning in so close to this computer screen (oh, in dark burgundy, please)

white sapphire stud earrings from Etsy ... to save this list from practical items!  And because they are adorable, handmade & economically priced (hint to hubby)

What's on your holiday wish list?  Do you ask for practical, or fun gifts?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Inspiration: Trees & Dining Rooms

On our last day of holiday inspiration week, I'm sharing some great ideas for trees and dining rooms!  In other words, all of the amazing but kind of random images I have left.

{images via}

Wouldn't this make a beautiful, simple centerpiece?  Or even 2 on either side of a buffet table?

{image via}

I absolutely love the fake tree in the dining room in the first photo, but what about using a fake as your main tree?  I'm usually all about getting a real one, but if you're going to go with a fake, why not make a statement?  Bonus: you don't even need ornaments on this gorgeous gold tree!

{images via}

How about this pine cone tree... You could have it up for Thanksgiving even!

{image via}

Lastly, I'm in love with trees in containers (instead of a tree skirt)... Check out these great ideas!

{images via}

Hope that you found even a few images to get your own holiday ideas going!  My to-do list is extraordinarily long for this weekend, but I'm hoping that we can get lots of decorating done tonight.  Do you have any decorating plans?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bathroom Mirror

Way back in March, when we were picking out fabric for living room pillows, I picked up this mirror from Home Goods for $35.

It's original purpose was to hang in the dining area... Then over the console in our entryway... Then it sat under the bed in our guest room for a few months (full disclosure here).

I knew it was a good deal, and we would eventually have a use for it somewhere (my husband's favorite reason for me to buy something)  And I knew I wanted it 'safety red.'  So it only took me a few months to figure out that the perfect spot would be our guest bathroom!

I already had a few cans of Rust-Oleum's Safety Red on hand, so I just taped around the edges of the mirror and spraypainted.  I waited a day in between and lightly sanded before each coat.  There still ended up being quiet a bit of paint on the glass, but it was easy to remove with some Windex and a razor blade.

Here is the final result... 

Before and after:

I think the spray paint really updates the black & gold, and it looks so much better than the smaller, plain, unframed mirror that was in the bathroom before.  Overall, I'm really happy with how the mirror came out, and Jeff is glad it is no longer under the bed! 

Holiday Inspiration: Outdoor Decor

I love Christmas tree lights peaking out of the front window of a house a night, but I think decorating for the holidays isn't complete without adding a little something extra to your front door too.

Here is a great example... I love the use of thousands of colored lights, giant snowmen, and Santa on the roof.

Just kidding!!  Santa's Village in your front yard is definitely not the look I will be going for... But then again, the holidays are all about spreading cheer, and the cars that were lined up down the street to look at this house certainly felt that!  (unless, of course, you're their neighbor)

These houses, on the other hand, are definitely my style...

{Martha Stewart via}

{images via}

{image via}

And, yes, I realize this is another mantel, but I think the topiaries in burlap sacks tied up with Christmas ribbon would be gorgeous on either side of a front door.

{image via}

{image via}

Do you have any plans to decorate outside for the holidays?  I have a few ideas, but there is always a good chance they'll be vetoed by the hubs... 

We're going to wrap up the week tomorrow with Christmas trees and dining rooms!  Then hopefully have our indoor and outdoor decor to share on Monday!