Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our tree to yours.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I hope all of your holidays are filled with happiness, good food, and family.

More on our Christmas later. We love all y'alls!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DIY: (My First Ever!) Chair

As some of you might know, the hubs and I had several yard sales before we moved out of BV, at which most of our belongings were sold (we had to fit everything in one storage unit, OK?). So, we were lacking in a few big furniture items (read: a dining room table, chairs, nightstands, end tables, etc.). A few days after we moved here, we spotted four of these chairs and a mysteriously legless table next to a neighbor's trashcans. Providence! We waited until nightfall, and then we drove our car over and sneakily loaded all of it into the back.

Clearly, the chairs were in need of some TLC, and by that I mean, who in their right mind would have chosen to cover the cushions of honey-colored chairs with vinyl the color of sand? Blech. I was so excited to get to work! The table and chairs had good bones, solid wood and sturdy, but they needed a good sprucing (and in the table's case, some legs).

First, I removed the seats and pulled out the staples...all 194,000 of them.
Then I laid out my 40%-off-at-Jo-Ann's outdoor-approved fabric, and cut out pieces using the sand vinyl as a rough template.
I wanted a little extra cush for the tush, so I bought extra padding at Walmart and put it underneath the original padding.
Then we stapled...and stapled...and stapled some more. (Olive really enjoyed the loud staple gun, let me tell you...)
When the cushions were done, I took the chairs to the garage and sanded every inch of those babies.
Then I put on a few coats of black spray paint (primer/paint 2-in-1, booyah).
I wanted shiny chairs, so when the black was dry I added some clear coat.
When they were dry, I screwed the cushions back into place, and voila! They look good, right?? It's an improvement, that's for sure. I was proud of myself! But really, it wasn't even that hard.

chairs - $0
spray paint - $15
fabric - $25
extra padding - $12

TOOLS NEEDED: screwdriver, staple gun, staples, sandpaper, pliers

Not bad for a noob, eh? What do you think?

Now for that table...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Most Anticipated Post of the Year

(Please withhold your judgments about our lack of decorations and also poor photo quality. We are working on at least one of the two, and possibly both.)

So here is our lovely estate from the outside. I'll probably post more pictures later (of the lot and such), but this is the actual house.

And now. Are you ready? The inner workings of the Virginia Blackwelder household are about to be revealed!


Wait for iiiit...


SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Impressive, I know. In fact, this is the actual view from the front door, looking slightly left. This is the room I have no idea what to do with, so all of our unused stuff generally gets crammed in here.

No judging allowed here, remember. (I said no judging!) Here is a cute puppy:

View from the kitchen doorway

I just don't want this to be one of those rooms that never gets used, you know? One of those fancy sitting rooms with the stiff furniture that's only there to look good through the window. It's a waste! Like an front door that people don't actually use. So, ideas, peeps? I eventually want to knock out most of the wall behind the piano and really open up the space...perhaps leave columns or something. But until then...what do I do?

Moving on, this here's the office:

Still no judging!!
Ehhh. It was meant to be used as the dining room, but it is closed in and small and I don't like it at all. Except for the grape border at the top (which you can't actually see in this picture. Shame, that.). That's a nice touch. We are thinking of closing this room completely off someday and adding more cabinets in the kitchen which you can see here...

View from the office

View from the living room doorway

Aaaand welcome to the half of the house we actually live in! (Read: the half I actually keep clean.)

Ridiculously cavernous, right? I LOVE it; there is so much potential. I want to add an island for sure, to break up that space, and also a dishwasher would be nice. Also, if you'll notice the vinyl flooring throughout...obviously someday I want tile in the kitchen and wood floor in the rest of the house. But until then, our floors will continue resembling those of a hospital.

And now for my favorite room of all time...the sunroom!

Things are a little different in there now, meaning the picture is now centered over the TV and we have a Christmas tree; I'll post updated photos at the end (or see the one in the post before this). OK so here is the hallway...
Like I've mentioned before, the doorways and hall in this house are all extra wide to accomodate a wheelchair. I love it! (And someday when we have wood floors it will be beautiful!)

Here is our guest bathroom:
You know you are loving the faux marble countertop and grape border near the ceiling. (Someday this bathroom will be grey with white trim.)

And this is our bedroom and bathroom:
Things look a little different now...we actually have a headboard. But we still only have stools for nightstands. Hah.

Our bedroom has the door where the corner of the room should be:

And our bathroom has one of those rolling doors, which I hate. It's a pretty big bathroom and the shower is HUGE. Someday I'd like a Jacuzzi tub put in and a smaller corner shower or something.

Now for some panoramas...

This is actually the first one Christian took with his phone...such skills, that hubby of mine! (Don't mind my face.)

Here's the front room again, clean this time.

Aaaand sort of a failure pano of the kitchen. You get the gist. It's really big.

What changes am I wanting to make, you ask? Well, take a look at this beautiful open kitchen/dining room/family room from Better Homes & Gardens; I want something very similar.
(Nice stitching job, me.)

The layout is basically the same, except our family room is where their deck is. I LOVE the idea of knocking a window out from the kitchen into the sunroom. That way you can be in the kitchen and still be interacting with people in the sunroom. So basically we are thinking of closing off our office entirely from the kitchen, and putting cabinets against that wall, moving the fridge and stove over there, etc. We need more cabinets, regardless. But don't you LOVE the openness of that house?

Anyway, there you have it. I'll do a separate post later expounding upon our outdoor endeavors. Cha!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


OK, I know I promised a peek at our living conditions, but that daggone post is taking an eternity to finish. So, tonight you will have to settle for a panorama taken with Christian's fancy new phone. (Pay no attention to the bang-up stitching job. That was my panorama-taking novicehood showing.)

This here is our lovely sunroom, easily my favorite room in the entire house:

(Click to enlarge, yo.)

Also, I will definitely be posting the house photos tomorrow. Be on the lookout. And if not...well, it's your loss.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't worry! Here's a post! I'm still true to my word you guys!

LET IT BE KNOWN that a post about our house WITH PICTURES is in the works, but let's be honest here Joe, it's late and it is becoming physically painful to keep my eyes open. So instead, enjoy these pictures of our jack-o-lanterns circa Halloween, 2011.

Christian's Emile pumpkin

Morgan's from-a-pattern-but-still-pimptight pumpkin

My cannibal pumpkin

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Things For Which I Am Thankful

Christian, of course! I am so incredibly thankful that he is so hardworking, loving, smart, and fence-building able. He is patient with me and doesn't even get mad when I ask him questions during movies. That's a good man right there!

Accordingly, I am so, so, so thankful for the job he has and that he was able to land it so soon after graduation. It seemed like forever at the time, and I remember feeling terrified every day for what our future held. But looking back now it seems like the blink of an eye. I know so many people struggle with finding work, and I am grateful for his every day.

I am thankful for this house! I LOVE having a place that is our own, and I am so excited to paint it and furnish it and fill it with kids.

I am thankful for our puppies. They are outrageous and quirky and they make me laugh daily. I love Sadie's spins and Olive's crazy laps. I love that they both lay with their hind legs straight out behind them.

Along those same lines, and you all may laugh, but I am thankful for Sadie's loyalty to me. My baby Sadie would give her life for me and I adore her. Most people perceive her as this horrible, scary dog (which isn't entirely unwarranted, I suppose, given her track record and the fact that we lock her up whenever we have company; fear of the unknown and all that, haha), but what they see as aggression is really just a bad combination of a high-strung personality and a mistrusting nature. But Sadie respects and loves me, and I know that she would never even think of hurting me. She has protected me from Olive on occasion when she gets too rough and even, once, from Christian! (It's a long story, but basically she misinterpreted a scream of frustration from me...Christian was near me at the time and therefore the most likely culprit. And no, nothing like that! For shame.)

I am thankful for our financial security. Believe me, I know how blessed we are, especially in this economy. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father watches out for us and put this job in our path, and that Christian was worthy to receive it.

I am thankful to live in America, especially Virginia. I love this state and we live in the most beautiful area of it. I love Virginia because it's got everything: four equal seasons, mountains, big cities/culture (D.C.), and the beach. Unless you are looking for a desert. It doesn't have a desert. I love the rolling hills here and I never get tired of the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to church. So blessed.

Maybe it's cliche, but I am thankful for my health. I was the sickest I've ever been a few months ago, but I know a sinus infection and pink eye are nothing compared to what others have experienced.

I am thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am thankful for my eternal sealing to my husband. I cannot imagine my life without the Gospel.

I am thankful for the ward we've moved into. The members have been so welcoming and friendly, and our Sunday School teacher is awesome, which is hard to come by. :)

I am thankful that on Tuesday, Christian and I will celebrate three whole years of marriage together, and I am especially grateful that these three years are only three years of forever. That's crazy to think, right? But so wonderful. I am so blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Remember Us?

Gosh, I really need to pay more attention to this here blog. So here is my goal, ready guys?

I am going to write a new post at least once a week, come hell or high water, goshdangit I AM.

I like writing. But I am such a darned perfectionist that composing one post generally occupies most of my day. At least. So I have to basically peptalk myself into writing every new post, and it's kind of exhausting. But hopefully posting more often will help remedy that.

On a slightly unrelated you may or may not realize, Christian's and my (is that proper grammar?) anniversary is coming up in 11 days. It will mark three whole years, to be exact.

And now, here is a list of things I have to blog about:
  • Our new house, obviously!
Well, that's all I can actually think of, so TTFN, and count on more frequent posts from yours truly! Until then, here is a picture of my adorable dog to tide you over.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's Officially Official



In our new house that we own!

However, we have been sick since the day after we moved in (read: TWO WHOLE WEEKS), and actually I've been sick for literally a couple months now (no, I am not exaggerating). What started out as a sore throat and slight sniffles for several weeks blossomed into this awful hacking cough, sound-like-a-man illness for about a week. I gauge colds based on how I feel when I wake up in the morning. At the beginning of a cold, I wake up feeling crappier than I did the day before for the first few mornings. Then it bottoms out, and I start waking up feeling slightly better than I did the day before, until it's gone. This entire process generally takes less than a week, give or take. Basically, I can always tell when I haven't reached the worst of it yet, and when I'm on the return journey to health.

Not so with this crappy illness. I would wake up feeling the exact same every morning...for almost two entire weeks. Finally, when I randomly contracted pink eye for the first time in my life and when Christian also caught my horrible disease, we went to the doctor. To a doctor at Christian's allergy center, to be exact (we get free care there, what can I say). For some odd reason, they are not used to dealing with walking contagions such as us, and so they promptly ushered us into a room by ourselves and gave us masks to wear. (Also, I'm pretty sure I saw them throw away the pens we used to fill out forms.) After being quarantined for forty minutes, I had to blow my nose on a microscope slide (awesome, am I right?) and Christian had his throat swabbed for strep. Apparently that is how they diagnose sinus infections. They look for lots of white blood cells in your snot, which indicates that your body is trying to fight off an infection...and my blood cell count was over 94%. We got prescribed meds (Christian was negative for strep, thank goodness) and were instructed to go home and rest, i.e. don't do any work on your house.

Also, I tore a ligament the other day in my ribcage from coughing so much. So now sneezing, coughing, laughing too hard, stretching the wrong way, and any sort of pressure on it is excruciating. I have never been stabbed before, but I bet I know what it feels like. The doctor says it can take 6 - 8 weeks to heal. So, joy.

So the point of this whole story was to explain to you why our house is still packed in bins and therefore not terribly picture-worthy. Pictures someday, promise. We are now mostly healed and have done crazy amounts of yard work (should have gotten before and afters, DANG!), and are now in the process of fence-building.

Can I just say...I AM SICK OF BEING SICK! This is literally the sickest I have ever been in my whole entire life. I have always been insanely healthy and have prided myself on my immune system...which I suppose has decided to finally abandon me for a while. Here's to hoping we'll be reunited soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

All the forms for our mortgage loan have been signed, sealed, delivered. Now we're just waiting on everything to go through! (I couldn't think of another 3-verb song title to fit in there. Dang.) We're set to close August 24th, but from the looks of things we won't even come close to making that date. Sigh.

Other than that, there isn't much to report. Christian goes off to work on Mondays and stays in Roanoke all week. I stay here to cuddle Olive and to keep Sadie from biting anyone. We reunite on Friday, go to church on Sunday, rinse and repeat.

But a few weeks ago, we got to go down to Wrightsville Beach, NC, to see my former roommate Julie's ring ceremony! It was beautiful and I got to see my best friend Jess and other friends from BYU-Idaho.

Stephanie (Julie's sister), me, Jess, Rachael, Ashley, and Julie's friend Lara.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Scoop

So here's the skinny:

- Christian is finally employed (can I get a what what!?). He is the assistant administrator for the Asthma & Allergy Center in Roanoke, Virginia.

- We put an offer on a was accepted. So now, pending inspection, we are officially first-time homeowners! We won't get to move in before the end of August though...dumpy. Roanoke is about an hour away, so to save on gas and miles on our car (our warranty!) Christian's been staying in hotels and such during the work week.

It is WAY bigger than it looks. The kitchen is HUMONGOUS! Whoever built it needed it wheelchair-accessible, so all the hallways and doors are really wide, and the master bathroom shower is HUGE. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a walkout basement, a two-car garage, and a big, beautiful Florida room, all on a double lot in a really nice older neighborhood (which means lots of mature trees!). Here is a sneak peek:


- Oh yeah, and we graduated at the end of April! I think I forgot to say anything about that. Here is how we feel about that situation: