{create} 2013 resolutions

Friends, let's talk about resolutions -- about what we hope for 2013. For the past couple years, I've set a couple larger, bigger picture goals for the start of the new year. I've found that making a long list of things I want to accomplish usually just stresses me out. Last year my two goals were to learn to take better photos and to improve my health. My health was a huge priority this year and I'm happy to report that I'm feeling great! The best I've felt in a couple years. I also worked quite a bit on photography. I admittedly have a long way to go, but it was nice to push myself to learn this year.

When I reflect back on 2012, as we all tend to do this time of year, I have very mixed feelings. To say that 2012 was a mixed bag of emotions is an understatement. There are definite highlights, including two amazing vacations - Italy and Salmon River rafting, a kitchen remodel and a fantastic new job for me! But see, I worked for the first 10 months in a pretty horrible job that had me stressed out around the clock, not sleeping and the not so occasional tears. And although I LOVE our kitchen, it took a lot of time away from our family and friends, created complete chaos in our home and has left us both a little weary of big renovation projects. 

This weekend Chris and I talked a lot about what we'd like from 2013 and the big overwhelming goal we both have is to take it easy. Now, I need to preface this by letting you know we're both very Type A overachievers and this is a REALLY hard goal for us. We decided that we aren't going to tackle a big renovation this year (ahem, bathroom), but we're instead going to focus on this little things: finishing the kitchen, reorganizing our life, going to garage sales on the weekends, inviting friends over for dinner, heading to the beach for family weekends and just generally enjoying life. I have a very difficult time with balance. If I see a free weekend in our future, I'll fill it up. But this year I want to learn to relax and just take what life throws at us. 

What does this mean for this little blog? My hope is that this new attitude will free up a lot of time for me to be more creative and tackle smaller projects that I've put off -- making a headboard, sewing a slip cover for a new ottoman/coffee table, new curtains for the bedroom. I have a huge list, so please don't think my "taking it easy" means taking a year off. :)

Friends, what is something that you'd like to accomplish this year? How did you feel about 2012? Did you have a good year? Are you ready for it to be over? I love how each new year feels like a fresh start. 


{2012} A Home in the Making

Did you all have a great Christmas?? I hope it was lovely and spent with great family and/or friends. We had an amazing holiday - we are so blessed with incredible family and friends who we spent the weekend with - just laughing and eating and generally enjoying :). I am dying to show you a couple of the more home-related gifts we received. I need to snap some photos, so hopefully I'll have those ready to show off next week :).

In the meantime though, I thought we'd take a look at what's been happening here at A Home in the Making over the last year. I did a post like this last year, and just love looking back to see what's been accomplished around here -- before we move ahead with what we hope to accomplish next year. I hope you enjoy taking a quick look back also!


In January we showed you what we gifted my parents - a gallery wall! And then we showed you how to install one of your own. Ps. A year later, this gift caused me much stress -- it was such a great gift I didn't know how to beat it this year. Yes, I'm slightly competitive and completely type a! :)


In February I took a close look at the living room and determined it need an update. A pillow update, to be exact. You all helped me pick a direction, I purchased a couple new pillows and even made an ombre one of my own! 


In March, I finished one of the most laborous "craft" projects to date - our bedroom's twig pendant. We also found a screaming deal on a wall mounted microwave/oven, which kicked off our kitchen remodel!


In April, we took a look at green, blue and white kitchen color schemes. Inspired by those colors schemes, I updated a pair of tired cafe chairs with a sassy lime green.


May officially kicked off the kitchen remodel madness. I showed you the million ideas we were throwing around, we talked about the reasons behind the complete remodel (while the kitchen looked nice in photos, it was a hot mess), and then we DEMOED!


In June, we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and the living room, we dry walled the kitchen, and we attempted to refinished the original hardwoods, which led to the most commented on and most controversial post to date - whether we should paint the wood floors. On a non kitchen related note,  I went to the Haven Conference! And, posted about everything I learned from that weekend.



In August I got you all update-to-date with our back porch renovation, a project we work on here and there when we have time. The update included our gorgeous pendant lights. In kitchen news, we installed our cabinets and our counters.


In September, we installed our kitchen sink and a good portion of the trim. I also launched a new series called Fall Favorites that featured some of my favorite bloggers sharing their favorite things about fall.


In October, we went to Italy!!  It was amazing. Duh. And in kitchen news, because clearly the kitchen dominated the blog this year, we painted the floors.


In  November, I celebrated this blog's 500th post! In almost equaling exciting news, we built a pantry and could finally move all of our kitchen stuff our of the living room! 


In December, with my living room assembled after 6 months of chaos, I decorated for Christmas with a gold and white color scheme. We also took a look at the newly updated nook, complete with a navy blue ceiling

Friends, it really has been quite a year, both personally and on this blog. Clearly, the "project of the year" was the kitchen remodel. The majority of our time was spent on this project, but I feel like I was able to complete a few other great projects to round out the blog content and not make this solely a kitchen blog! I am so excited for 2013. I'll be back either tomorrow or Monday with resolutions and a peak about what's in store in this space for next year.


Merry Christmas!

Friends, I wish you the happiest of Christmases! I hope you all have a lovely long weekend and I'll be back next week with a couple fun posts looking back on the last year.


{create} a gold and white Christmas

Remember how I mentioned last week that I invited friends over on Saturday night so I'd have an excuse to finish decorating? Well, it worked! We're fully decorated :). The difficult part of decorating for Christmas this year was that it also involved putting our living back together -- bringing furniture back in, hanging photos, etc. It's been six months (of kitchen remodeling) since we've been able to use our living room! So, not only is it nice to have it all decorated and festive, but it's nice to have things back to normal :).

As for decor, I mentioned when I showed you our mantle and tree that we're were going with very simple decor in a white and gold color scheme. Friends, I love it so much. It's so relaxing and soothing and elegant and festive. 

As for decorating in a color scheme I've never used before - well, I did end up buying a few things. Mostly, ornaments. I needed gold :). But I also ended up buying a couple of white pillows -- one with a fun ribbon texture and one with an awesome fuzzy texture. I justified these because I'll use them all year round. But, they do fit in so well with the holiday theme! 

Friends, how's your decorating? All done? Does it feel like Christmas is sneaking up awful quickly this year? :)


{renovate} a nook makeover

Happy Monday friends! How was your weekend? Full of fun holiday activities, I hope. I think we're long overdue for a kitchen update, so today we're going to take a look at our nook!

We didn't do much to this little room off the kitchen -- it didn't get demoed. But, since we're updating the kitchen, it got a little makeover as well. New ceiling (the old one was cracked), new moulding, painted floor, painted walls and painted ceiling.

Remember the old room? Very yellow .... which is never bad, but I was a little sick of it. 

And here is is today!

Here are the built in shelves, before. And a glimpse at the ugly old linoleum :).

And after a coat of bold and sassy navy blue paint. Both the ceiling and the shelves are Benjamin Moore's Black Ink, which is the same color as the inside of the front door. Even though I usually paint ceiling flat, I went with an eggshell so the light is reflected off the ceiling -- I completely love it. I sort of did this on a whim one weekend -- trust me, we have so much to do with the kitchen, that I didn't really need to add to the list -- but I'm so glad I took the time to do it.

Want to see a few more photos?

 Just a few more things to do this room, including:
- base moulding
- small rug
- curtains
- new chairs -- I'm already on the look out for something a little smaller

As for the rest of the kitchen, Chris is busy installing trim. It's looking so good! I'll be back with more of that soon. 

Have a great day friends!


{inspired} a Portland holiday gift guide

Last weekend was one of the happiest weekends of the year, in my opinion, because it was the weekend of craft and handmade bazaars in Portland! Chris and I hit up a couple and they did not disappoint -- there was so much goodness. Both for oneself and for gifts -- and by that I mean Chris now has quite a list of holiday gift ideas. For me :).

I rounded up my favorites from the weekend and am sharing them today at Design Build Love. Ashley is hosting a series called My Favorite Things: Gift Edition and I'm so excited to be participating!

You might remember Ashley from a lovely guest post she wrote for me when I was in Italy -- she posted her favorite fall outfits - all of which were adorable. One her own blog, she recently posted about her custom pantry, which is a must see. Her and her husband are master woodworkers -- seriously. When they need something they just make it. SO IMPRESSIVE. In fact, she needs to come up to Portland and install custom shelving in MY new pantry asap!

So please hop over to Design Build Love and check out my gift guide and explore some of Ashley's awesome home projects!

Happy Friday friends! 


{create} white and gold Christmas tree

Slowly but surely, we're getting decorated for Christmas. You can see in my photos below, that there isn't much done on our surfaces, but my goal is to be done by Saturday morning. I even invited friends over for a little party to help motivate me to finish! Do you ever do this?? :) This past weekend we did get our tree decorated. There is something about decorating the tree - maybe it's the twinkly lights? - that immediately puts me in the holiday spirit.

As I mentioned when I showed you guys the mantel, we're decorating in only whites and golds this year. Just to mix it up a little :). So far I'm loving it.

For the tree, I made a couple quick and simple ornaments to add to our existing gold ornaments, including painting glass balls and these adorable white paper poinsettia flowers. There is one more ornament that I'd love to make, but just haven't had time. I'll keep you updated if I do.

 (You can find poinsettia instructions here)

And, we reused our book page chain from last year. We're both still really love it and I think it works well with our color scheme.

As for below the tree, I absolutely LOVE our tree skirt, but it's very red and white. So, I dug through our basement and found a roll of burlap we'd purchased for a project earlier this year. I'm completely digging the more natural look. 

Another thing I noticed when I was taking these photos? We still haven't hung everything back up that we took down when we demo'd the kitchen. Yah. Working on that ;).

How are you guys doing decorating for the Christmas? Is anyone else feel like the days are flying by this year?


{inspired} Holiday Wish List

Considering it's the holiday season, I thought I'd share a couple things that I would love to see appear under the tree this Christmas!

basket. I just love this. I think it would function so well in a number of rooms in our house.

steam mop. Even I can't believe this is on my wish list. But I think my least favorite chore is cleaning our hardwoods, which now cover our entire first floor. The vacuum does a great job, but actually getting down on my hands and knees and cleaning the floors just doesn't happen as much as it should.

this is oregon poster. I featured these earlier this year and would LOVE to see one hanging in our home.
pig bookends. Just because I love them. So darling.

iphone dock/speakers. Again, for the kitchen. I'd really love a way to charge our phones and play music with better speakers. We always have music on and the phone speaker isn't the greatest!

hobnail glasses. Because now that I have glass cabinets in my new kitchen, I need to not have our pint glasses with hot rod logos showing through.
school house clock . I've been drooling over the clock forever and think it would be amazing in our new kitchen. Oh and in case you were wondering "new kitchen" might be a theme through this wish list.

gold wallet. Love this wallet. Cute on it's own or in my bag :)

I'll be back next week with a Portland-specific holiday guide. There are so many talented people around here, I think they deserve their own post. 

My question for you today, is if you could have just ONE thing this Christmas, friends, what would it be?


{Italy} Modena & Florence

Let's start today with the give away winner. First, I want to thank you ALL who entered. It was so fun to hear from so many people coming out of the proverbial "woodwork" and to hear your favorite Christmas songs. My random number generator, aka the Husband, picked #21 and that is my friend Laura from Markham Street Design! Laura's favorite Christmas song is "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Laura, congrats and I'll email you :)

Friends, I still have more to tell you about Italy! Previously, we talked about the amazing Cinque Terre. I have this post and one more to share with you about our Italian vacation that happened back in October. If you'd like to read my previous Italy posts, you can find them here. The last week of my time there, I stayed with a friend and traveled solo to a few different cities. I've been spreading out my posts over the last couple months because, well, this isn't a travel blog :). So, I hope you'll hang in with me for another post -- probably after the new year!

My last week was based out of Modena, at a friend's apartment. I shared her amazing 300-year-old apartment here. She is a very good friend from college and we have one of those friendships where no matter how long it's been since you've seen each other, you pick up where you left off. We had a blast. Modena itself is NOT touristy and there is very little English spoken/written. So, you can imagine her reading me an entire pizza menu one night while we were ordering take out. In the restaurant :). Modena has an amazing daily farmers market, which I navigated by myself in order to make dinner one night. Trying to describe that I wanted to buy cabbage was .... interesting!

Chris was in Modena for an afternoon before he flew home. We had lunch with my friend and a huge group of her friends at a winery/vinegary. It was a beautiful location, beautiful meal and FIVE hours later, we were practically best friends with everyone in the group! :)

One of the day trips I took during the week was to Florence. Have you been? It's so amazing. I spent a weekend there about 10 years ago and I'd forgotten just how much I loved it. Luckily, last time I was there I hit all the tourist spots, so this time I just spent a few hours wandering, exploring neighborhoods and people watching. It was fabulous.
I did visit the Florence Duomo again this time. I just can't get over the intricacy and detail in the architecture. It's such a work of art. On the left is the duomo from the ground. On the right is the ground from the top of the dome. Yikes!

Can you spot the neighborhood watch dog?? He was vicious for something so little!

After wandering for a few hours, I was exhausted! And still had a couple hours before my train. So obviously I found a seat at a cafe at the base of the duomo, ordered the largest gin and tonic I could find, a snack and read and relaxed for awhile. It was a seriously awesome day.

Do you guys travel by yourself? I've never done an multi-day trip by myself, but I do love a good day trip every once in a while. How about you?


{create} a gold and white Christmas

Happy Monday friends! Are you all decorated for Christmas? I'm sure the majority of you are much further along than we are! But I did do a little decorating this weekend and thought I'd show you our mantle and the direction we're headed.

For as long as I've been decorating on my own for Christmas, I've always used red as a main color. This year I'm itching to mix is up, so I thought we'd decorate with gold and white. The fun and challenging part of this is that we don't actually have any gold and white decor. :) And, I don't want to spend a lot of money (if any) on new decor. So, stay tuned to see how this works itself out. I have a feeling there will be a lot of diy happening!

This weekend, I started with our mantle. For the wall above the mantle, I created a simple gold "Merry and Bright" sign. Which isn't technically done -- but it's close! For on the mantle I had a vision of lots of white poinsettias. I bought a few mini poinsettias that I replanted into the terra cotta pots that I seem to be collecting (for some reason I have a LOT). I also bought a big white poinsettia that I cut up and put into a vase. I found a super sparkly gold paper and a gold mini chevron paper at Paper Source (love that store!) and wrapped them around the vases.

The result is understated, sparky and completely gorgeous.

I have a feeling that if I can pull it off, I'm going to really love our holiday decor this year.

And let's be honest -- I'm only including this photo because there's a chance this is my new favorite view in the house :).

Friends, what color scheme are using to decorate for the holidays? Are you all done decorating? Haven't started yet? I'd love to hear!

Updated: I'm linking up to The Lettered Cottages Mantle Party!, Ten June's Mantle Party
and Finding Silver Pennies