Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY Mantle: Warming up the Naked Fireplace

Sorry for the lag, guys. I got a little caught up between a weekend at home and a weekend of pure fun and relaxation (and a week in between).
 Quite a few changes have occurred between our playground adventure and now. 

The biggest change is our new mantle. It has added such a sense of homey-ness to our little old apartment! 

For some reason, the fireplace in our apartment (big selling point for us, btw) is just on a blank wall. It has a nice white frame and painted black insides, but it just exists. Which is a crying shame considering it is such a nice feature, and it is on one of the huge vaulted-ceiling walls. It just felt.... naked

(This is the only picture I have of the wall pre-mantle. I guess it was shy because it was so naked)

And here is how we did it. 
-We bought a length of 1x6 from Lowe's (And they cut it to size for us, of course)
-and 2 decorative L-brackets.
-We already had stain from the coffee table project

Here are my raw materials 
(On our new balcony furniture, but we will get to that in another post)

We intentionally got a board that had lots of knots and "character" to it.
But as straight as we could find. Lots of jokes were made.

This time I used an old towel instead of a paintbrush. It was equally as messy. But I work at a preschool so I am totally over caring about messes. Wood stain on my hands is much less of a concern after snot and poop.

I love the color that it turned out to be! More than the coffee table, really. I didn't use the ebony undertone.
And I stained the L-brackets. (No pictures. Just use your imagination)

Here it is again "Before" with all sorts of project materials in the way of what could be a beautiful fireplace.

I made Josh hold this at a dozen different heights. 
In the end, about 3 inches above the fireplace frame was the location that won our hearts.

The brackets have a receiver built in, so all we did was unsuccessfully look for the studs and drive in a screw. We then decided to include an anchor and felt much better about the life expectancy of whatever ends up living on the mantle. (So it wouldn't fall)

So it looked like this for a few days. 
You know how patient I am?... well the stain wasn't even dry at this point. But I was so anxious to get it on the wall that I just covered the edge that touched the wall in painters tape. Worked like a charm, by the way. 
Remember that big ole frame? Yeah... We had plans for that. More on that later.

Now for a detail pic:

See the swirly L-bracket?! So purty.
 Budget Breakdown:

Lumber: 1x6.........$7.00
2 L-Brackets.......$12.74

And what became of that frame? Well, I'll show you!
We spray painted it (The pictures above were already sporting a cream colored spray paint. But I wasn't diggin' it.)
We moved on to a light blue (A nice accent for our very tan-brown-cream living room)
It was looking awfully "Baby Boy"ish, so I made sure to distress it lots with our handy dandy orbital sander. Better. 
Then we wrapped the whole thing in chicken wire.

I'm really lacking on pictures of this process, but basically we 
  1. rolled out some chicken wire, 
  2. used all-purposed snips to snip a line we thought was approximately the correct length, 
  3. put the frame face down
  4. (carefully) wrapped the wire around the edge (pulled it tight)
  5. and staple-gunned it on the back
Except we under-estimated a tad on the length, so on one side it didn't reach the back. We just decided that would be the top and no one would see it anyway. Except you. No big.

And here is the front: (bad lighting for all these... I apologize)


After! Nice and level... YAY!
So now to decorate that behemoth sucker.
I have a feeling it will have many different faces throughout its life above my mantle.
Here is the birth of the first one.

Anyone remember these?! I made these moss letters for our wedding. 
Here is proof:

So I removed the orange ribbon and added lace in its place.

Naked mantle

All situated. 

Left details

Right details (I love my felt birdie)

 Josh picture of details

A very fulfilled couple.
(oh, and this was all after we took a hike through Percy Warner Park...)

So we are allll ready for autumn to roll back around so we can utilize our now-beautiful fireplace. And Christmas so we can finally hang stockings!

A couple other changes that deserve a nod are our new lamp shades from Target

Once we (I) saw these, we (I) was hooked. We (Josh) promptly returned the plain jane ivory shades to Lowe's and we fell in love with these burlap drum shades.

And the ladder found a home!

I'm still open to ideas on how to spruce it up. Please comment below if you can think of something!

There are a couple more projects to fill you in on, but that will have to wait for another day.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Unrelated Events: DCFC & A Whale of a Time

So first off, we just got back from Lowe's with supplies for a new project! It's really going to pull the living room together. And per usual, I wanted to go ahead and start on it, but 1.) it rained today so the porch is wet and 2.) it's ten o'clock at night. I guess it will have to wait until next week.... I hate waiting. 

Story time:
We have to wait because are going home this weekend to visit family, YAY! Want to know what's NOT "yay"? We planned on going home this weekend for my nephew's 2nd birthday party... 

(Pic form my sister's fb)
It was last weekend. I still don't know how this oversight occurred. I had it in my mind that his party was the 20th because his birthday is the 22nd. Well, somewhere along the way it got moved up a week because my brother-in-law has a game that weekend (as a band director). Even though the invitation (which was adorably hand-painted by my middle sister) had the correct date, I didn't even process that it was a week earlier! Geez! So imagine my surprise last week when my mom asked if we were staying at their house or the Myers'. I was devastated when it all hit me that I was too far away to just pop on down for the afternoon. I cried. No, literally. I went into the bathroom at work and cried. This was the first time that we had to miss something because of distance. That was a difficult blow to bear.

But we are still going home, party or not, because we had planned on it and we were looking forward to it.

And onto the purpose of the blog:
Death Cab for Cutie concert and a Playground.

Last Wednesday this married couple went wild and crazy. We stayed out late on a school night! (in all actuality we were still home by midnight. That is late for me.)

We got tickets to see our all time favorite band, Death Cab for Cutie, because hey... that's part of why we moved to Smashville. Music. Live Music. 

Quick note on Death Cab. Is it cheesy to say that this band is a significant portion of why Josh and I fell in love? Well, truth be told, it is. When we first started dating, the album Narrow Stairs had recently been released. That was probably one of the first big "things we have in common" conversations. DCFC was a huge influence on Josh's musical taste and style, and I just loved them. 

Sappy Anecdote:
One time (after a couple months of "courting") Josh and I were going somewhere and took my car. I had been blaring the aforementioned album, specifically the song "Cath...", and I heard Josh say "God, this is why I love you!" It took about 2 seconds too long to realize what he'd (accidentally) said, and I was already in the middle of saying "I know! This album gets better each time I listen to it." Then it sank in what he had said, and I think he realized what he said, and we both got all flustered and silly and changed the subject because the relationship was still new and he really didn't even realize it came out til it did. 

So yeah.... The first time Josh told me he loved me was because I was so equally enthused about his favorite band.

Have I bored you all to death yet? Here is a story in pictures:

The band that opened was called Frightened Rabbit. They are from Scotland. And they are amazing. Go support them and buy a CD. Please.

Then came the main event. The crowd went berserk. This is Ben Gibbard. Hey Ben.

These are all from by phone, by the way. We had pretty good spots (general admission, which meant we stood in line for an hour and a half to get in a good spot... after I got of work from standing all day... Totally worth it)

Another You-Just-Had-To-Be-There pic of a concert.


I took a video of my favorite song, but I can't figure out how to upload it (server won't allow it) and I don't feel like creating a youtube account or anything... 

So after the show, on the walk back to the car (paying to park downtown is still something we are getting used to), we walked through a courtyard area and the grass was so squishy and soft I just plopped down. Josh realized I was no longer my his side and plopped down next to me.

"Ahhhh my poor tired feet are soooooo happy!"

Instagram effect of the happy couple in the squishy grass

Onward to the playground adventure.
Josh and I do a lot of driving around just looking at houses (for our future home-buying purposes). We stumbled upon this historic area near the Harpeth River:

Which led to some pretty incredible plantation style homes and eventually the Natchez Trace

We saw some deer

And after getting effectively lost in some residential area, we saw this! I went straight for the merry-go-round but it was in some serious need of oil. So I resorted to the whale. It was a good choice.

Josh wasn't cut out for it.

I eventually got his tail to touch the ground too though

Then these guys wandered out and we were like... uh, what?
Ended up that at least 3 were hanging out. "Oh don't mind us"

"Helloooo down there"
(turkey shots taken from this see-saw) 

Briefly airborne 

I had forgotten how fun see-saws are.

obviously exuberant 

Probably the funnest playground slide ever! Makes your stomach drop.

I did this and slid down the slide. Josh isn't as flexible, so he had to work for it.

One of the ladders beat me up.
pasty leg returns

Oh hey rock wall!

Conquered. Take that child-toy!

Easy as one...




And I had to squeeze in one more session with the whale before we left.

So all in all, rich people can afford playgrounds in their side yard and open it to the public.
And we sure are glad they did.
Because we had a WHALE of a time.

yesssss. (pun victory)

Stay tuned for our upcoming DIY projects!
{wishing I had a blue whale ride in my side yard}