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 The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors.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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Craft Projects

Patriotic Cornhole Boards

Cornhole3

My step dad is super handy (the understatement of the year) and built my little sister a set of cornhole boards last year. He painted them white so she could spruce them up with a design of her own. Last weekend she came over to paint them — they turned out awesome! (Sorry — No tutorial on the actual boards in this post since I wasn’t a part of the construction.)

Emily used paint from Michaels for her boards. She taped off her stripes and drew on her stars before painting each board. She even painted around each star by hand, which I thought was super impressive. DISCLAIMER: Only one star was harmed (read: painted over) in the creation of these boards.

Two coats on each, and she was d-o-n-e done! The are so cute, don’t ya think?

Cornhole2

The only thing cuter than her patriotic boards (and my garden behind them) is Em!

Cornhole1I guess craftiness runs in the family 🙂

We will be using these boards at our Memorial Day picnic/Em’s birthday celebration this weekend!

Life

Amazing photos, amazing coworkers

It pays to know a professional photographer.

I’ve talked about my coworker and friend Tony Richards before on the blog. He’s our department’s kick ass photographer.

It’s not often that I am the subject of Tony’s photo shoot. If I’m involved at all, I play the role of photographer’s assistant (i.e. the person Tony gets to boss around). Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in a shoot as the subject! The result was too fun not to share.

Enter the most BAD ASS picture you’ll ever see of me (or possibly another human being) in your life:

JessBadassBAM!

OK, how cool is that!?! My whole team — we’re the creative department — recently just did a quirky photo shoot so we could have fun photos for our website. Of course, my prop was a hammer 🙂 That shouldn’t surprise anyone.

And if my badass picture wasn’t cool enough, I had to share these photos, too.

JessAndChrisBattleShot

Chris (the guy I’m knocking out) and I were helping Tony set up for a boxing-themed shoot. I often step in as the “model” to help Tony get his lighting just right. Since we were both around, we put on the gloves and put on a pretty good show.

JoyceVsVictor-28Mar14-5 (1)

I won 🙂

Like I said, it pays to have an awesome photographer as your work buddy. Mad props (I know no one says that anymore) to Tony and his awesome photography skills. You are crazy not to peek at his website: http://tonyrichardsphoto.com/

Speaking of work, the magazine that Tony and I work on together came out earlier in the week 🙂 We took the lead on this issue, which was a crazy, stressful and awesome experience all at the same time. I am so happy that it is out and looking pretty!

SmithBizPic

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekends. I plan to finally get outside and work on a few furniture projects. Woohoo!