Saturday, December 3, 2011

Brown paper packages tied up with strings...These are a few of my favorite links...

In the quest to find some great inspiration for both my home, and my life, I have dug through countless websites and looked at goodness knows how many different great webpages. There are a handful, however, that I visit quite regularly- and wanted to share them with you. I'm also excited to post next week part one of my Christmas project. I will be making ALL of my Christmas gifts this year, and am determined to have them be amazing!

One Kings Lane: Amazing Ideas

Sweet Pickins: A local Utah furniture refinisher- (cute, cute, cute!)

Home Talk: GREAT feedback and tips from people who have done it themselves. I have gotten ideas for everything from composting to painting..

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Engagements and the "Kitchen facelift" project

I've been frantically knocking projects off the to-do list, as though I am being chased by a tornado. This is half accurate, as the weather will soon turn and I won't be able to accomplish much in terms of reno. With Jace and I's wedding coming up in 9 months, we simply don't have the option to redo our kitchen the way I would really like it. I envision a complete demo and rebuild. This is financially about 5 years out for us right now, so I HAD to do something to the kitchen to make it work. (Side note: I cook between 10-20 meals a week in my kitchen, and am most certainly one of "those" people, where I feel the kitchen should be the focal point of the upstairs. In our forever home, I would love a large open concept kitchen with an island that has bookshelves on the side, power, and a small sink... THAT project is probably 10 years out, haha!)
Since work has been quite busy as of late, I have been staining a few kitchen doors at a time. I will take photos next week, and can't wait to share the redo. It isn't a full renovation, but what I'm calling a "kitchen facelift". Just what the cabinets needed before heading into the busy cooking season of Utah winter, holidays, and many nights gathered talking around the kitchen with a glass of wine and great friends.

Until then, I wanted to share the great photos our wedding photographer took for Jace and I for our engagements. We had such fun taking them! Sometimes I'm not sure how I got to be so lucky.. to be marrying my prince charming, and have an absolutely blessed life. Also, I turned 30 yesterday, and am excited to be starting this new chapter of my life. :)

-Cheers!     xoxo- Cassandra

Monday, August 29, 2011

In love with barn wood....

I have been having an affair for over six months now. Before you go and call my Fiance, let me explain------it's with a table. I've been wanting to replace the four-seater pub table that followed me through college as our dining table since I purchased my home last year. I was uncertain as to what I really wanted until I first noticed her as a centerfold in a magazine about six months ago.. There she was, gloriously displayed in all her natural beauty in Ballard Design. Her table piece set with elegantly glowing candles, mason jars, and shells- set with high overstuffed chairs against a slate gray wall and crystal draping chandelier. I instantly fell in love. There was something so intoxicating about old reclaimed barn wood, delicate linens, and beautiful Hydrangeas. Like most celebrity love affairs, I knew mine too, would never come true.. as this table was nearly three thousand dollars. .... You can stop a girl from buying a table... but you can't stop her from dreaming of it!

I thought as the use of reclaimed barn wood began to take center stage in home decor, that surely somehow, somewhere, I could find something in my budget. I felt like Goldilocks looking at tables--Some were too big, some too small, some too light, some not right. I dug out that issue of Ballard Design several months later for inspiration and had an astonishing find: The table I had been dreaming of the past few months in my mind looked NOTHING like the one I had first been inspired by.  I had concocted a fictitious table in my mind.. One that was perfectly suited to meet the needs of my fiance and I (and our future needs),  One that could take a beating and still be as stunning as the day I took her home... I soon realized this table did not exist in any store, and if I wanted my dream table, I was going to have to build it.

At first I thought perhaps I could build it myself, as I'm rather handy, and certainly persevering enough. However, purchasing reclaimed barn wood is akin to getting a pair of authentic new Christian Louboutin's for 20 bucks. It just wasn't going to happen. Apparently hijacking a derelict barn for wood in Utah is frowned upon, and although I love barn wood, I doubt a criminal record of trespassing and unlawful destruction of property would make a nice addition to my resume.  Not to mention I have never built anything from scratch using a saw and wood.. and I happen to have penchant for all ten of my fingers, thank you very much.

I came across an ad in the local newspaper from an artist who creates picnic tables using reclaimed barn wood. I sent her all the photos I could get my hands on, of wood colors, of table shapes, of legs shapes, you name it. She told me she could craft it for me in my budget and I'm fairly certain I quite literally jumped for joy. Jace and I went and picked out the wood from the pieces she had at her house, we saw other pieces she had created, and we knew... this is our shot. I had complete faith that she would create the table of my dreams... and low and behold, she exceeded them.

My table made it to my house today, and seeing it for the first time... I am in LOVE! This table will last us through any twists and turns that life may provide down the road, whether that be children, dogs, family dinners, holidays.. you name it. The knots and marks in the wood are amazing, and you can still see traces of the paint on the edges on the wood from the old barn. Not to mention the F-U-N I will have decorating my table for every holiday and occasion. So, in the end, I ended up with an amazing, hand-crafted, unique piece.. I will relish telling everyone the story of this table, and cherish that this old barn became my newest addiction.

Enjoy. xoxo---- Cassandra


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sweat Equity Exterior COMPLETED!

 5 months in the making. I'm not sure I have much else to say, other than: "We are not doing this again for a long, long time to come." And, "Worth the work!"

Our finished abode!


Front Exterior





Back Side of House
Back Patio, Grill Area, and Fire pit
I spy with my little eye, two bulldogs sitting pretty....

I'm loving that my garden is in full bloom, and LOVING this new camera!!!
I heart my Salvia, it blooms a frosty gray and turns to lilac
Even my shadow is enjoying this project being complete.
One of my favorite pieces in my garden: French Lavender and Spanish Lavender in an old wheel barrel
Oh, and I forgot to mention, that potting bench I finished? BEST THING EVER! We moved it directly next to the grill and it has become such a life saver. No more running in and out of the kitchen to find items, no more lugging plates up and down the stairs. Most importantly, no more distraction from my relaxation time in the backyard with pesky things like "dishes" or "cooking". Isn't that why we got the grill? So I could relax with a glass of wine by the fire? That was my understanding...Plus, the color is perfect, and I found a bench to match it. That's right, my life is now complete :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

C'est Fini!!

After a few weeks of being tres productive, our house is finally FINISHED! In addition to the house, the gutters, the trim, and the potting bench side-project, we have also finished our sprinkler system-- and shockingly our lawn is coming back!
Sadly, my old canon camera has lost it's life.. or found new life in someone else's thieving arms.. needless to say, this was a perfect excuse to get a new Nikon P500. While I build my love affair with my new toy, I have had to learn to use this newfangled contraption, which has taken some time. Jace and I have not posted the updated pictures yet, as we have been rather preoccupied reminiscing in the war stories, bruises, total melt-downs, countless trips to the hardware store (more often than not, in the same day), and near death experiences we faced while renovating the exterior of our home. Jace is happy he no longer needs to scale the death-defying "widow maker" aka: the two story ladder- I am happy I no longer have to pick paint out of my hair and eyelashes. Our war wounds were well worth it though...

There's times that I feel I don't deserve this rather perfect little life, and sitting back on our lawn, gazing up on our hardwork with the love of my life by my side, really makes me appreciate just how lucky I am.

Pictures and the final reveal will come tomorrow!

Friday, June 17, 2011

*Press Pause* Insert Side project...

Well, the pine trim replacement is underway, and my driveway/front yard looks like a construction zone. Not exactly the look I was going for, but a necessary sacrifice for the ultimate goal of having our exterior finished. We have two major projects still looming (and have solicited the help of professionals) :  replacing our rotted wood trim around the entire exterior with new pine trim, and installing new gutters around the perimeter. Jace has primed and painted the wood, and it should be ready to go next week. I have a dumpster arriving today for us to discard all the foliage/xmas trees/lawn clippings/dead pine trees/leaves/pine cones/misc crap from the backyard, old trim, and old remnants of what once appeared to be gutters. Thank you previous homeowners for so carefully preserving 6 years worth of Christmas trees and junk in the west end side of the house. Needless to say, I am deeply looking forward to the cathartic process of eliminating every shred of our previous homeowners laziness/ineptitude, and starting fresh in our backyard. 

"After I finish with the dumpster, what is there for me to do?!"

I'm dying to start another project....(pause for about 4 seconds before coming up with a list of 700 other projects I could start.....)

As luck would have it, we purchased a great new gas grill this past weekend and could use a grill prep station for our tools and spices. I could also seriously use a potting table for my vegetable garden. So, here is the project I will be tackling once my new love arrives next week  

                                             My Semi-DIY Custom Prep Station/ Potting Table:

I ordered this beauty from and here are my plans:

Paint with Martha Stewart exterior satin latex paint in Feldspar (color seen below), and brush off the edges for a shabby/rustic look.

Add a bunch of functional accessories:
-S-hooks to hold grilling utensils
-2 small wire racks to hold small items on one side of the cage and hold cleaning items on the other
-An attachable aluminum foil rack for the side
-A large galvanized steel garbage can for underneath.
-A cutting board
-A wash bin for sticky plates and utensils.
-A small rack to attach underneath the table deck for cloth towels.

I was originally inspired by the article in this month's Martha Stewart Living {found here:Grill station inspiration}. I loved the aesthetic appeal of the original bench she used, but was looking for something with a more rustic appearance, as though it was something I salvaged and brought back to life. This is why I am in love with the potting table I purchased. This will also be a great place for me to store my other side project in a wood crate (see below) when it is raining or not in use. I also wanted something more sturdy, and although the original option of folding the table up was appealing, I was more interested in carving out some dirt, laying stone on the ground, and creating a permanent fixture in my backyard.  I am so excited to get started on this mini project, and am eagerly tracking the arrival of my table.

DIY Jar Lanterns:
I subscribe to every home decor catalog I can get my hands on. (I always recycle them when I'm done)- And here's why-- Often I find the best inspiration and can complete many of the ideas on my own at a fraction of a cost. I was flipping through Pottery Barn the other day, and found these cute little glass canning jar lanterns. They wanted $7 a piece for them, without sand or candles. Not bad, if I needed one or two. But I envisioned lining my entire deck with them. So, craftiness out of necessity strikes again! A few ball canning jars and some craft wire... a few tries with the wire cutter.. a few swear words...and, voila! Beautiful lanterns that now hang on posts lining my lower deck outside. I also added citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay this summer.

While I was busy cutting and twisting wire, Chloe was "helping":

I can't wait to reveal the photos of our completed exterior (hopefully in the next 2 weeks)

Jace and I were waxing philosophical about our home the other day, and realized the enormity of what we have already accomplished. I am so proud of the efforts we have put in, and to put it in Jace's words.....

                                                              "I think our house loves us"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sorry for the snow delay...

Here it is, May 1st, and we are buried in snow yet again! Unfortunately we received about a foot of snow last night, which put a prompt halt to any outside painting we wanted to accomplish this weekend. A brief update so far however, we are about 40% done with the exterior painting. This is proving to be quite the laborious task, with washing of the aluminum siding and removing rust the most frustrating, time-intensive task by far.
         Our method for success:  1) Wash aluminum siding and remove all traces of rust.
                                                2) Apply one thick coat of Bull's Eye latex 1-2-3 primer (this stuff is amazing, it truly protects the siding, applies quickly and easily, and lays a great base coat for rich color)
                                                3) Apply two coats of Valspar Ultra Premium Paint in Arid Plains.

We has chosen to do this all by hand, with brushes. Honestly, our hands hurt and our wrists are wondering what they've done to deserve such abuse, but the result is nothing short of amazing.

Although we've suffered some minor setbacks (minor accidents, major bruises, dog's covered in paint (it is a very flattering color on our bulldog!), and weather), we've had nearly the whole neighborhood stop and tell us how amazing it's looking so far. Now, we don't mean to toot our own horns here, but we're putting in some MAJOR sweat equity into our home, and are very pleased to see our neighbors agreeing with our hard work.

I can't wait to post the photos of the "after", but for now, here are some glimpses of this major project:
Closeup of rust-covered siding BEFORE cleaning, priming, and paint


I can't get this to flip, but nevertheless, it's a fantastic closeup of the BROWN siding. Yes, that would be rust you see. Good news is, this rust was surface and had not ruined the siding. It's a little thing called upkeep prior homeowners... meh.  

And, a few teasers shots!!:

our beautiful pup Chloe, with a side matching our new paint color. Thanks for sitting against the house pup!

My extremely brave and amazing fiance! (The little green ladder is mine! =D ) And, our new exterior light fixture!
Please send us warm weather!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Weather permitting, we will be tackling the immense task of stripping, prepping, priming, painting, and sealing the exterior of our house over the next few weekends. The house is currently 5 different colors (if we don't include the sections of siding that were replaced in bright blue and never painted!), rust, chipped paint (where it does exist) broken siding, the wood trim is bare, dry, and dead, the sealant used to exist at some point probably 10 years ago, and the gutters are currently a great metal strainer in which all the water simply gushes out. Oh boy. After digging ourselves out of the snow and our first winter in our new home, we had a chance to really survey the damage, and agreed... this project is going to SUCK! However, we are confident our home will look amazing once we dedicate our blood, sweat, and tears into this next project. We spent last weekend testing paint colors and types of paint, 2 trips to Lowes, and 2 different house colors... and we finally decided upon Valspar Ultra Premium in Arid Plains for our primary color, and our wood trim in Polar Ice.

Weekend warriors, unite!