Thursday, January 31, 2013

Random Musings:Living in an Apartment

Topic of the day: What are your thoughts on living in an apartment??

Courtney: Well, since it means my house is sold I am completely fine with it! We walked the apartment today and it was nice, everything we need...but did anyone else realize how small 1000 square feet is?!? It hit me as I was walking the space that this is actually larger than the cottages....and it is not that large! Now the cottages are two stories so I think that may help with the illusion of having space...and we are going to add those sunrooms asap....but seriously, nothing like 1000 square feet to make you pare down!

I am sooooo excited (as mentioned several times on this blog) to be moving to Apex and mostly to be next to Dana....not that I love her that much (I mean I love her a lot) but how convenient to run to the store or schedule a meeting or God forbid go on a date when your sister lives right next door! I hope Dana is ready....I mean I will reciprocate...of course...I may even consider returning my (her) favorite scarf....

Dana: I am already stressed! Small spaces make me anxious if anything is out of place and I have 2 toddlers! So, I am a little worried about my nerves at the end of it all but I am so excited for what it means...we are building our dream! Now, I like my space. I would rather have extra bedrooms than just enough. I like a place where I can go and NOT hear the TV or the kids. I like my own little retreat. Well, 4-6 months of apartment living is not going to kill me, but it will be a good prep for living in the cottage. They do have a 24 hour gym and pool...maybe I will get down to my Pre-Ada size! Ha!

As for the constant Hoppers in my house...What else is new :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Venue Update! Exciting news...

So I thought it would never happen...I thought for sure that it would happen to Dana before me (see prediction here) but as it turns out that was not the case. Without further adu.....WE SOLD OUR HOUSE!!! We re listed last Wednesday and by Sunday we had a bidding war! I could not believe it...we had more showings this past weekend than we had in the 6 months prior with another agent. We even contracted for 1000 over our list price...which is amazing!

So blog friends...I can not even tell you how relieved I am to have this contract on the house...I know there are a few more hurdles to cross like inspections and what not but it feels good all the same. I just keep thinking about how much more convenient my life will be when we are up in Apex, close to Dana's family. So much time and energy is spent back and forth! I am also super excited to be starting those cottages...I never would have thought 1000 sq feet would seem so appealing...but it does!

So friends, we will keep you posted...our Due Diligence period is seriously an eternity (3 weeks) so I will feel much more settled when all that is over.....but for now we are just doing the happy dance!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1705 Prime: Alyssa and Chris

We don't take on a ton of full plans. The main reason being because the amount of work it requires - we would not be able to do 100% to all our brides if we take on too many. Luckily, we had brides spread out over the whole year last year. The other reason is because I get too attached!  Seriously. It is so bittersweet to see their day approach. I literally almost got teary eyed at Alyssa and Chris's rehearsal. I am pathetic- I know! 

We met Alyssa and Chris almost a year before their big day. Immediately I knew I would love this couple! Not only is Chris the sweetest guy ever, but he was just head over heels for his bride. He came to every single meeting and made sure that Alyssa was getting the wedding of her dreams. He opened doors for me and her! He has got to be one of my favorite grooms. I enjoyed all our meetings, phone chats, texts, and e-mails. I will truly miss working with them. They were a breeze and! 

I think my shining moment was when she was having a slight emergency in the car on the way over to the chapel and she told her mom "I just want Dana!" My heart melted just slightly - I am not gonna lie. We did have one hiccup with an over zealous church coordinator. But other than that it was a perfect day. Enjoy the pictures..

Girls all made up!

It was a candlelit service - so pretty!

The altar pieces

Pew markers


The happy couple

Could he be any happier??

Her bouquet - one of my favorites we have made!

Their "guest book" They were wine lovers, so we had a little theme going..

Escort cards

One of the tables

The other tables

Love this picture

Beautiful Job from Ashley Cakes

These girls knew how to Party!

Sparkler exit!

SO cute!

Yes - that is me, barefooted in the freezing cold running around like a nut for this picture. 

Such a fun night and great group of people!! I know they will be celebrating many years together. Congratulations Alyssa and Chris and Thank you so much for letting us plan your special day!

Venue and Catering: 1705 Prime
Ceremony Site: Millbrook Methodist
Photography: Stacia Harrington
Hair and Make-up: Elaine Harrison
Flowers/Decor: C and D Events

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cousin love!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend...we had a loooong weekend over here (which normally is a good thing) However, what made it so long was the amount of times we were kicked out of the house for showings! I know that is the general idea of how you want things to go when you list your house...and it is great...really....but the third missed nap time starts to take its toll on everyone! Good news coming though...I can feel it!

On to the post.....There are sooo many reasons why  am excited about my future neighbors: savings on gas, double the wardrobe, secret commune dreams fulfilled....But one of the main reasons I am excited is because of our kid's relationship! There is a ton of cousin love between these four! Nora is obsessed with Henry (Henry not so much...) and Henry is enamoured with Mason...but where is is most clearly seen is between Ada and Mason! They love eachother so much and 90% of the time are super sweet, caring, and giving to eachother. The last time Ada was over she had a runny nose and everytime she started to get upset about needing a tissue Mason would go and get her one. When Mason told Ada he wanted to be the first one in the bath tub she patiently waited and told him "ok you can be first." This would NEVER happen with his sister....not the same relationship.

I can't wait (and Mason can't either) until we are a gate or path away from eachother and can spend the night on a spur of the moment. I can see so many sleepovers, giggles, and explorations between the four of them! I would have loved to grow up next to my cousins when I was younger...and I am happy that our kid will have that memory!

I will leave you with a conversation that Dana had with Ada on the way over to my house one day.

Ada: I like Mason's Face
Dana: You do?
Ada: Yes, I love his body too.
Dana: Yeah?...
Ada: I also like his voice. He talks nice to me.
Dana: Well that is good.
Ada: And sometimes he talks mad to me and that just makes me sad because I love him!

Friday, January 25, 2013

DIY: Refinish Door Knobs

Where was the post yesterday??? Well - good news over here is that we have been getting lots of showings! (Dana here by the way). We had 2 within the hour of listing the house (the hubs thinks it was mostly due to the holiday), one on Wednesday, then 2 more yesterday. We have one for today and one already for tomorrow. Yesterday's showings were from 12-4, so we weren't home and I was no where near a computer to blog for you all. Sad, I know! But most of my Thursday musings were related to feedback on the house, the lack of plans of the venue, and the idea that we are going to be packing soon! EEK!

But on to today! I refinished our door knobs a few weeks ago and I am pleasantly surprised by them! They seem to be doing great. I do not have a ton of pictures, but I can give you a step by step..


1. Take off all hardware from the doors - Knobs, hinges, and plates

2. Clean hardware with a damp rag and dry.

3. Sand! Now this is slightly scary as when you start sanding you think you have ruined your handles. Have no fear! You have not ruined them. Keep sanding in all different directions until you have them roughed up pretty good. 

4. Use the deglosser to clean off the sanded knobs and hardware

5. Wait until dry then apply thin even coats of primer. Apply in even sweeps. Your knobs should be white.

6. Let dry for 1-2 hours. I did this in the winter, it took time to dry. In the summer it may not take quite as long. 

7. Apply an even coat of the bronze paint. Wait 20 minutes between coats. The first coat should look speckled and then the hardware will look more covered with each coat. I did about 4 coats. Make sure you get underneath the knobs as well! 

8. Let sit for at least 12 hours before putting back on the doors. 

A few helpful hints..
Styrofoam is awesome - it cut my time in half because I could keep them all upright. a Cardboard box will also work!
Put a tarp or newspaper down - paint gets everywhere. I also wore gloves so I could hold the foam in different angles

Make sure you spray your screws too! These did not get sanded or primed - I just sprayed  them 

Hinges all done (don't you love the sippy cup top next to it!) Spray both sides. These take longer because you have to let one side dry completely before painting the other

All done! Such a difference!!
There you go! Based on a lot of other tutorials - it looks like I went overboard. The Oil rubbed Bronze paint already has primer in it. Some tell you to just degloss and not sand, and vice versa. We use these knobs every day a million times a day and some of us have sticky peanut butter fingers. I needed something that would hold up. I think I made the right choice based on my results - but maybe ask me in a few months. Good luck and let me know if you do this project and you have any hints to add!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Venue Update!

Well....we are still waiting on plans (I think dana may explode soon) but we do have an update! Both houses are on the market! Dana's went live on Monday and immediately had two showings. She seriously may have an offer next week as they are bringing in their contractor to price out a few upgrades...I know, I is sickening! Ours went live yesterday....not as grand of an opening...but I am feeling optimistic! I really think we have the right realestate agent and a steal of a price....if the house is sellable, she will get it done!

So anyone looking for a house??! We have two great options available!

Dana's House

Courtney's House

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill: Jen and Dave

We were lucky to direct Jen and Dave's wedding this past November at the Arboretum in Chapel Hill. It was a beautiful day with a laid back crowd that made our job so much fun! We supplied the bride with the flowers and they had a cool idea about getting together several friends and having a centerpiece making party! They showed everyone how to do one and then let them have at it! 16 friends = 16 centerpieces! I thought that was such a cool concept! Enjoy some of the pictures from the day!

Getting Ready! (Dana action shot!)

Love this Shot!

Wedding Guests

Pew Markers made by C and D

Cute Bouts!

Just Married!

The Cake Table! Yum!

Cute bird stamp guest book!

Venue: Arboretum at Chapel Hill
Caterer: DCC
Coordinator and flowers: C and D Events
Photographer: Happy Day Photography
Cake: Guglhupf Bakery

Monday, January 21, 2013

The husband

I am totally obsessed with this song. Every single time I hear it, I have to hold it together. It is not that the hubs and I are going through anything or having a hard time. But it (the song) just consistently reminds me of our commitment to each other. I can see the look on his face as I am walking down the aisle as clear as day. I remember the butterflies, excitement and just the pure joy that was evident not only on his face, but on mine. I remember saying our vows and looking into his eyes realizing that he was everything I wanted.  It reminds me of how much I love him and he loves me. It makes me think of the hard times we have had and how we worked through it - loving our commitment more than each other at times. It also makes me think of the future - all the rough skies ahead and all the things we have not gone through.

Let's be honest - I am not asking him to just sell our house, but to also leave a house he (and I) love, trust our business plan, dip into savings, live in a smaller house, and to trust this crazy dream. But as we walk down this unfamiliar path, uprooting our little family, putting our eggs all in one very fragile basket, I can not imagine a more supportive partner to walk through it with. So Thank You Sam! You are the reason I get to pursue my dreams and I am so very grateful for you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

DIY: Reusable Birthday Banner

Last April I promised a future DIY on Ada's Birthday Banner. Well Folks, it is that time. My BABY is one! He turned one yesterday and his party is Saturday (tomorrow!) So needless to say I have been busting my butt getting everything together. I worked on his banner last week and although it was not hard - it is just time consuming. I actually told the hubs that is reason enough that we should not have a third child. Ha! But seriously - it is not hard, just carve out some time, pour a glass of wine and get to work...


  • 2.5 yards of sturdy fabric. I use Duck cloth - it is perfect (use a JoAnn's coupon and it is not that expensive)
  • Thread to match your duck cloth
  • 4 different fabric patterns. 1/4 yard each.  
  • 2 spools of ric rac. I used the 1/4" width
  • Cotton thread (the kind you used for friendships bracelets as kids) - about 2 spools
  • Yarn darning needle
  • 1 pack of heat and bond 
  • iron
  • sewing machine
1. Cut out your letters. I just printed out the letters on computer paper and then used them as stencils

2. Trace onto fabric and cut out. Remember that you if are using patterned fabric to trace them backwards on the inside of the fabric so that you don't see pencil lines. I actually used tailor's chalk - which has been a great use for me in this project and the competition! Tip: sketch out the banner to see what letters are what fabric and then do one fabric at a time. So I cut out all the brown letters, then green, etc.
My four fabric choices


All cut out
3. Lay out on the banner to make sure it all fits. For Ada's I bought 2.5 yards - it seemed large in my mind, so I only got 2 yards for Henry's. It was almost too small. I had to sew a really small seam - so I would suggest 2.5 yards for sure!

4. Attach the heat and bond to the letters. Ok, so I have done this twice and this time was much more time consuming because I got the cheaper heat and bond. With Ada's I used steam a seam. The main difference is that steam a seam is actually sticky before you iron it. So with hers, I could stick right on the banner and iron once. But with heat and bond you have to iron it on to the letter first, peel the paper, and then iron it onto the banner. Not a huge deal, but I would pay the extra $1 for the steam a seam *if* I ever have to make another.

The cheaper option - still works fine! 
 Another lesson learned with Ada's: For hers, I cut out the steam and seam to the size of the letters (so I traced the letters out again on the S-A-S). It bonded fine and worked great, but when I went to sew around the letters - it was sooo sticky and very annoying to work with. So this time, I just cut strips..
About 1/4 inch strips

Lay grid down, paper up

Iron it down!
5. Attach letters to banner. I did this word at a time to make sure I was leaving enough space. Iron in place
All ironed on. So - quick side note - I was working on this in the family room and the hubs was watching a football game. We have a digital antennae - not cable - so every time I moved to the floor to iron, the tv would go out, so he asked that I move to the coffee table. I needed a flat surface that was big enough for the banner. The ironing board was not wide enough.  No problem - except I ruined the table! The heat destroyed the finish in certain areas. So - no brainer here - but don't iron on wood furniture!!
 6. Stich around the letters using the cotton thread. You could do this like you are quilting - it goes a lot faster! I used a darning needle to get through the fabric and for the cotton thread - it is super thick.
The Y all outlined
 7. Make 4 ties. I sewed it inside out and then turned it right side. I hate doing this. I actually tried a new technique where I sewed a long piece of scrap fabric (about 1/2 the width of the tube) to one end and then threaded it through the bottom and pulled. It worked well! It was much quicker and easier than using a crochet hook.
4 tubes!
 8. Sew the sides of the banner. I just folded it in half (face to face - so you are sewing the backsides) so that I only had to sew 3 sides. pin the long side, one short side, and then about 4 inches from the top of the other small side and 4 inches from the bottom of the other small side. Basically you are leaving a hold to turn it right side out. You also want to pin your ties in. I folded them in half and then pinned it to each corner. Make sure the ties are tucked inside the banner!!
All tucked in

Turned right side out - you can see how the ties are sewed in nice and tight!
 9. I ironed it down and then got ready for the ric rac. Cut small strips of the heat and bond and attach the ric rac to the edges of the banner
They were super skinny strips!

All done

 10. Each year make an applique for the back to protray the theme of the party. I also add the year some where so they know it was for their 1st, 2nd, etc. birthday. Felt works really nice for this. I also just used the heat and bond for this part as well.
We are doing a sock monkey theme for the bug's party this year!

That's it! I love the idea of using the same banner every year and seeing all the different themes as the years go by. I think it will be a neat for the kiddos too when they get older.

Happy DIYing! Let me know if have any questions!!