Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

fireplace

The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations 🙂

fireplace3

Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

fireplaceremmy

As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear 🙂

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts. I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p. and I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite a few things, but there are so many gifts I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness has made this holiday season fly by so far. Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

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Birthday Jeopardy (and the best gift ever)

I love birthdays. I can thank my mother for that. She always made our birthdays wonderful. They are one day a year you get to feel special, or make someone you love feel special. Yesterday was Brian’s birthday, so I came up with a fun way to give him the gifts I’d gotten him.

BIRTHDAY JEOPARDY!

Birthday Jeopardy

I made a full Jeopardy board (Brian loves that show & trivia games) and came up with 31 questions to go with it! I  did one round, plus final jeopardy. Each category had a gift associated with it. My favorite category was: Tina, you “fat” lard. All of the answers had the word “fat” in them. And yes, the next category was Come get some dinner.

Here’s an example:

Tina, you “fat” lard

Watching, thinking of, hearing about or listening to Game of Thrones makes Jess this 8-letter word for tired.

What is ‘fat’igued?

Ding ding ding! For that question, B got the newest Game of Thrones book.

The best category and corresponding gift was in final Jeopardy.

Golden Retrievers

Jess’ three golden retrievers were all named after movie characters. Name the three films.

What are The Land Before Time, Indiana Jones and Ratatouille. 

Buzzzz. B got this wrong (he didn’t know my first dog Sarah was named after Sarah the Triceratops in the Land Before Time. Rookie…. Also, Remmy isn’t really named after the rat in Ratatouille. But it worked so well for the clue!).

Since it was his birthday, he still got his gift.

Birthday Portrait

A custom portrait of Remmy!

So this is basically the best, most amazing, adorable gift ever. As a blogger a super small small smallllll business owner (really, I can’t even claim that.. but whatevs), I always love to share other fantastic small businesses. I bought this print from Kathryn Selbert Illustrations, who has a shop on Etsy. I sent her three pictures of our pup with a few details, and she made this graphic drawing, basically combining all three into one adorable cartoonified Rem. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I ordered this for B on Nov. 4, originally planning to give this to him for Christmas. But she sent me the file on Sunday (you can opt to print your own or she’ll send you a print) and I had it printed just in time for his birthday! Talk about amazing timing.

Here are the photos I sent her:

PupPortraitPic1 PupPortraitPic2 PupPortraitPic3

Here’s the illustration she made:

JessicaS_lowres_web_1

Is she talented or what?!? I love that she pulled in Rem’s bandana (which I think has since been destroyed) and that his big ol’ tongue is hanging out. I also love that it looks like a watercolor painting.

Let’s be honest, this was a gift for me just as much as it was a gift for Brian. We both love it. It’s definitely one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever given.

Kathryn has all sorts of other adorable illustrations available in her shop, so you should definitely check them out. She does two-week turnarounds, so there’s still plenty of time left to order your pet portraits before the holidays!

OK, I’m done raving now. Happy day-after-your-birthday to my main squeeze. Glad you liked your birthday game & gifts.

If you want to check out Brian’s other fun birthday “game,” check out my post on his beer scavenger hunt!

 

Home Improvement, Life, Paint

Green paint and a little sinfonia

“Hello? What are you guys doing right now?”

That’s the call we got from my sister on Friday night before she impulsively decided to come home for the weekend so she could go get soft pretzels with the hubby.

Turns out Friday was National Pretzel Day and Emily and Brian LOVE pretzels. Their love of pretzels couldn’t be denied, so Em came home (2 + hour drive), pulled into our driveway, and hopped into our car. We drove to the mall, which is thankfully super close by, with only 3o minutes until closing so this dynamic pretzel-loving duo could get them some Auntie Anne’s. Now that is dedication to National Pretzel Day.

By the way, the got five pretzels. Yes, five.

pretzels

My weekend was off to an amazing start, obviously. On Saturday we got busy helping my MIL paint her living room. She’s been working so hard to redo this room and the transformation is almost complete!

Green paint

She chose “Sage Tint” for her walls, and they look beautiful. They especially pop off the bright white ceiling we painted a month ago.

Green Paint

All that is left is to paint the trim, then she can move her furniture back into her beautiful room.

Now don’t hate me Robin, but I had to share this picture of you and Brian. You both look adorable and so happy, even though we were all covered in paint.

Robin and the hubby

Although… maybe I was just covered in paint. You both look remarkably clean!

Once the room was painted, we scurried home so I could clean up and run out the door again. This time, to my little brother’s final elementary school concert.

Elliott plays the violin and has done so since he was 4 years old. I can’t believe how talented he is.

IMG_3387

I was super impressed by the entire strings ensemble (not sure if that is what they are actually called…). We celebrated afterward by having a delicious dinner at the Melting Pot!

I’ll save my Sunday project for tomorrow, but as you can tell… our weekend was packed! I am still super tired. Good thing next weekend will be super relaxing…. oh wait. No it won’t! Who am I kidding though, relaxing weekends aren’t my style 🙂

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.