Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy HoliDIYs

If you caught my last post, hailing the little details of my Christmas mantel, then you saw some of the last month's proudest accomplishments.  Dan and I found ourselves heading into this Christmas season stockingless.  And even if we'd had stockings, it would have been a hopeless case, for we had no stocking holders. But now, oh, now we do.

I'm fairly proud of how these came together, mostly because it was not something I saw on Pinterest first.  Nothing really drives me to be creative than being...well, required to be creative.  I would have been totaly okay with buying some stocking holders, but we couldn't find any.  I didn't see any at World Market, Target,  WalMart...the Dollar Tree had some, but I'm not sure they would have been able to hold up a paper snowflake, much less a stuffed stocking.  So when push came to shove, I decided to make my own stocking holders. Take that. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Merry Christmas Mantle

If you do not already know this, know it now: I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I have unashamedly been listening to Christmas music since just after Halloween. (No, I do not hate Thanksgiving.  I sing "Happy Holidays" with gusto on that day, and pass the Turkey with joy.)

Even more specifically, I love decorating for Christmas.

DIY Dropcloth Curtains

***Welcome Pinners!! Thanks for showing some interest and pinning this! If you decided to try out this project for your home, please email me a picture or leave a link to your blog in the comments, I'd love to see it! Also, if you're interested in purchasing a set of panels like these, I'm interested in making them for you. :) Click on the "Comments & Contact" tab and shoot me an email! Thanks for dropping by!***

Before anything happens, let's address the yellow elephant in the room.

Horrible pictures. 

I know, I know. I'm like a bad picture menace.  And those that are in this post are particularly awful.  I'm so sorry.  I am a big Apple fan...but an iPhone camera can only do so much. If you stick with me for, oh, nine or ten years, I'll be able to afford a nice DSLR camera and provide you with decent quality photos.  As for now, please just accept my most sincere apologies, and know that the quality of my pictures are as embarrassing to me as they must be disappointing to you. *Sigh.* 

Moving on. Don't you wish there really were a yellow elephant in your room? Me too. 

Moving on again. When Dan and I first moved into this house with all of its big beautiful beautiful windows...I immediately felt a desperate desire to cover them up.  I blame that on my mother.  There are two things that can always be expected of her: 1.) She will always turn down the music and, 2.) she will always close the curtains.  I can't blame her.  She values both her ability to hear and her privacy.  What are you gonna do? 

Either way, we had all of these big beautiful windows and were in need of some curtains.  For months, we settled for screws in the walls that held up several of Dan's old curtains from his apartment.  It looked awful. I don't have any pictures, but just believe me.  The curtains weren't so bad in and of themselves, but they were pretty much the exact color of the couches and so the whole living room was like this big den of dusty blue.  For a girl that thrives on contrast, it made me sad. 

And so I made myself some new curtains. Out of a dropcloth. Hoo-ray. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

D.I.Y. Newspaper Table Tray

When we first bought our house and began thinking about renovating and making big changes, I became acutely aware of the "past" of our home.  I was thinking through color schemes and decorations and floor layouts...and it caused me to think of the people who must have stood in about the same places and who must have made the same kinds of decisions.  Evidence of those people and their lives kept popping up as we dug deeper into our home; we found old toys, some pictures, and even a memento of a baby's baptism. 

My favorite finding of our home's past was a collection of old newspapers stuffed between the studs in the walls, most of them from the 40's, when the house was built.  I started trying to think of a way to display the clippings, in order to sort of honor the home and let it stay connected to its past in spite of all the renovations.  I wanted to do it in a way that wasn't super obvious (so framing them wasn't an option) but that was cute and functional (as I believe most decor should be). After a bit of hemming and hawing, and some inspiration from this blogger who posted on my Pinterest challenge post  (of which there is a better picture on this post) I came up with this project. May I introduce my D.I.Y. Table Tray.  Come on down after the jump for a little how-to.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kitchen Sneak Peek

There is something about the fall that makes it seem as if every part of life is crazily busy. Dan and I don't have school schedules, or kids with school schedules, or kids at all...but it doesn't change the fact that the busyness of our daily lives increased tremendously in September. Now, as we tumble toward the holiday season at an alarming rate, it doesn't seem like there will be an end in sight.

I suppose that's not all bad. We had a few (and I mean maybe two or three) glorious weekends in the summer that were unscheduled, but for the most part, we are booked. This past weekend we squeezed in eight events. Eight. We are busy people.

I bring all of this up because I have come to realize that my heart's timeframe for the completion of our house is not the same as reality's timeframe. That is okay. I just need to make some adjustments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brand New Fall Decor

As Dan and I continue to settle into our house, taking my time on the little details is becoming increasingly important to me. Since we moved in, I have been making a conscious effort to fight that little voice that has been screaming, "DECORATE EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW RIGHT AWAY!!" And do you know why I fight that voice? Because that voice is the one that I can blame for my far too large, totally uncoordinated, paid-too-much-for, didn't-really-even-match-or-work--in-my-space-when-I-brought-it-home collection of weird, punched tin "wall art" that was big time trending when I moved in to my first apartment. Anybody else been there? Anybody else caved in to that awful pressure that is a new, empty space?

I learned my lesson. With our house, I'm trying to be thoughtful. I'm giving things time. I'm thinking of decorating our house as a lifestyle of projects instead of a one time event.

(It's been a big help in saving money...If I'm out, I don't buy decorative things just because I like them. I have a rule that a decorative purchase has to have been premeditated...I need to have had some previous notion that a certain space needed a certain thing. If I can't look at something and know exactly where it would go and that it would definitely work, then I don't get it. It's so good for me.

Sorry for that tangent...)

Anyway, in light of that commitment to slow, thoughtful decorating, I am really excited to share with you a few things that have been coming together! Keep reading after the jump to get a little more up close and personal with the decor in the Hig house.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Dog Days are [Not] Over

I feel like a lot of you already know this, but as the most life-altering decision Dan and I have yet made as a couple, I feel that the blog world deserves to know....

....that we got a dog.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pride Cometh Before the FAIL

In light of my last, bragabit post, I thought it would be a nice balance to give you a front row seat to one of my big flops. You know, just to make it clear that I'm a well rounded person with as many (or many more) failures as wins. Of course, it's probably of no surprise to you that I have colossal fails in my repertoire, but let's, just for a moment, pretend like you don't know that.  It'll make this whole post a lot more enjoyable to you.

Let's get on to the fail, shall we? The great Bacon Avocado Pasta fail!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We have been super busy the last two weeks trying to get everything in the kitchen "done enough" so that we can put our appliances in next Thursday. That means going from bare drywall and subfloor to a mudded, sanded, painted, trimmed, cabinet-ed, floored very little time. Dah.

I say all that as an explanation for this post, which will be really easy and quick on my part.

I'm just going to brag a little.
Because I am a champ.
A DIY champ.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adventures in Wifedom: Tips for Savvy Shopping

No shame, I'll just say it: this one's for the new wives.  For the out-of-our-parent's-housers. For the keeper's of the pad, be it a bachelor's or a bachelorette's. This one's for the people who are finding themselves suddenly responsible for themselves. For those of us that have recently had the sudden realization that houses do not just exist in harmony on their own, those of us that thought at one point, "Oh. So all that shopping and cleaning...that's a regular part of life now, a regular part of my life...oh." For those of us who immediately feel like a four year old as soon as we've had that thought.

If you are one of those people, can.I.get.a.HEY-O!

If I ever get current enough to do *features on this blog, you can bet one of them will be dubbed "Adventures in Wifedom" and it will chronicle all the epic moments I have learning to be a wife. Oh heck, let's pretend like I already have a feature. Here we go.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wedding Photo Sneak Peek

As our wedding becomes more and more of a memory, and less and less of the focus of my daily life, I find myself wistfully desiring that I lived in a bigger city with needier couples so that I could regularly offer myself as a wedding slave. Not a coordinator, caterer, designer...a slave. That's really what you need, after all, when you're trying to put a wedding together - someone to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to your cause and be willing to face long, caffeine-jacked hours of sappy love songs and burns from hot glue guns...

Yes. That is what I want to be. A glue-gunning, Buble-listening, coffee-drinking wedding slave. 


Nonetheless, life moves on, and to ease the pain of post-wedding-distress-disorder one can always look forward to the day when they receive their wedding photos. (I suppose there is also the alternative of spending time with your brand-new husband, but this is a post about wedding photos so...) I got mine not long ago and was so so so so excited to look through them.  I don't want to post them on Facebook until I've been able to share some of the special ones with some special people, but I thought I would offer a little sneak-peek here on the el blog-o. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Around the House Weekly Five

I recently had a chat with a friend where I explained how she could set up her RSS feed to keep up with her favorite blogs, using mine as an example. We talked about how great it was that the most recent posts from all her blogs would just come directly to her; no longer would she be required to jump from page to page across the Internet tracking down blogs. It was great. I was so excited for her. Then, a few days ago, she sent me this text:

"Have you blogged recently? Cause if you have I did this rss thing wrong!"

Um, hi. Embarrassed, party of one. You did a great job with the RSS feed...but I haven't blogged since my last weekly five.

Called. Out.

Well! To make amends, I bring you another weekly five, this time centered around a little theme. Follow me after the jump to get in on five sneak peeks at the goings on at our place...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Five

As promised in my last, more serious post, I am back for a second time in one day to post and link up to a Weekly Five party going on over at Redirected Dreams. I even made a special trip to WalMart to purchase a card reader so that you could see my weekly five. (I figured since I deprived you of pictures earlier, I couldn't do that twice in one day...)

So now, without further ado, I present to you my weekly five - that which has blessed me the most in the last week.

Coming in at number one on my weekly five are two of my favorite people in the whole wide world.  My brother, Jonathan, and my mom, Mary Beth, both celebrated birthdays this past week.  I love my family beyond anything in the whole world, and I am always happy to see them make it another year. So thankful for them!!

Numero dos of the weekly five can be summed up as: Project Success. I don't know if you've seen this Sharpie on ceramic bit on Pinterest (I haven't...I heard about it via another blog...) but it's awesome. All those doodling skills you racked up in high school can finally come to something concrete. I'll do a little How-To later this week...not because you can't just look it up now, but so that I can show off some more of them. Because I've been making bunches.

 A surprise blessing was waiting for me at church this past week from my Secret Sister: a brand new journal and Diet Coke for me, and Triscuits for my adorable husband. I don't know who she is, but she knows me. If you're reading this, thank you!!! You are so in my top five favorite things!!

I always think that recipe success is a good thing, and the flavor fest that worked itself out on Saturday for my mom's birthday brunch is DEFINITELY one of my favorite things from the last week. I am beaming with pride and fond, delicious memories over this spinach, bacon, and goat cheese frittata and raspberry ricotta cheesecake. Yes. Please.

Last but not least, my top five includes the fun Dan and I had at the wedding of two good friends of ours. We are so very thankful for the Lord's leading in their lives and are looking forward to what He'll do next.  The wedding was beautiful - they did me the immense honor of asking me to sing and I didn't screw it up - and I danced so much at the reception that my thighs are still sore.  If you add that to the fact that my (free!!) spray tan ended up with my getting compliments instead of Oompa Loompa comments...the day is so worthy of inclusion in this weekly five.

This has been an incredibly fun post.  What a good habit, to reflect on the blessings in life. How about you? What are your five favorite things from this past week?  Let me know. :)

Tune in later this week for an answer to the question that thousands are asking...What's going on with the house??

I.Will.Let.You.Know. For now, I'm going to go and work on it with the hubs. Peace and blessings. 

From the Heart

Let me just start with a little warning to those blog-readers that require visual stimulation...

...this post will have no pictures.

That's not because it's not important, though.  It's just hard to take a picture of something that's happening in your soul. It's hard to even imagine a physical manifestation of a soul...and that's coming from someone who can imagine a physical manifestation of just about every conceived idea.

Are you confused yet? Hang on, because we're only just beginning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Challenge Accepted

Hey all! This post is going to be a special one, because it incorporates a lot of things that I'm super jazzed about.  One of my favorite blogs, Centsational Girl, is hosting a link party inspired by Pinterest! I am going to link up with a post that involves a little DIY furniture remodel I did for my wedding. See? Favorite blog, Pinterest, DIY, paint,'s bound to be a good time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First Days On the Job

It's always a little weird when you're starting out, isn't it?

There are always those little first day jitters, those moments when you think, "Oh crap, I just really messed that up and now everybody's looking at me like the newbie, aren't they? AREN'T THEY?! That's it I'm quitting."

It's always a slightly painful realization that you just have to wait for things to come, to learn, to get used to how it is here at the new job.

I consider yesterday as being my first day on the job at Wives, Inc. There was no name tag, no welcome packet, no instructions on what I can and cannot wear...but it definitely had all the same first day feelings.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best of Times...

Say that title five times fast.

It's not hard or anything, just fun, and interesting, and full of B's.

Sorry I haven't been here. Honestly, did anyone expect me to not slip up and slow down with the posting? Me neither. Things are SOO busy here. Some reinforcements recently landed (in the form of my younger brother and two friends), so I have hope that through the next weekend I'll be able to put a really good dent in my "To-Do" list.

It is pages long.
Multiple pages. Through all of this busyness...I am feeling very blessed for getting to experience the joys of love in engagement. It's exciting. It's fun. It's fresh...really. Why wouldn't it be?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Demolition Smack Down

There are about a million things going on right now...I'm taking a little break from tea-staining and spray painting everything in sight to do a little blogging. I'm looking forward to posting the bathroom reveal soon (it's looking sooo good!) but for now I thought I'd give you a little glimpse of what taking down the walls looks like. The bathroom wasn't the only place we rearranged the blueprints, a couple of bearing walls also made their exit from our kitchen space...

Moral of the story? There was a lot of demolition.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Serving Style DIY

Greetings and salutations. I hope you're all having a marvelous Sunday afternoon. I certainly am. There is usually a lot to do on Sundays, but this one is actually kind of mild and peaceful, so much so that my fiancee has drifted off into a rather deep slumber. It's well deserved. The end of this past week has been chock full of work.  Dan has been laboring long and hard over the bathroom at our new house, and when I haven't been at that task with him, I've been working on wedding whatnots. This last month and a half before the big day is when we get to think about all the lovely little details...which break down into all the lovely little DIY projects.  Today I'm going to share with you (in step by step fashion) the latest and greatest of these projects:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tearin' Down the House: the Bathroom

Happy Tuesday friends! Would you believe that I've been working on this post for over a week? Things have been busy busy busy. Sorry I've been a little unfaithful with the posting...I think that maybe subconsciously I was hoping that someone somewhere would get inspired to comment on the wedding invite post before I shadowed it with another house post but, alas, here we are, and there sits that last post, commentless.


So you like house posts more? Okay. I can roll with that. I mean, I'm totally still going to post about the wedding, and all the wedding details, and all my wedding feelings...but at least I'll be thinking about the fact that you would prefer something different.  And it is, after all, the thought that counts. Right? Right.

All kidding aside, today I am thinking house. I am thinking about the most important part of the house. I am thinking about the bathroom.  Our first and foremost concern with the house is to get the bathroom in working order. And that's simply because, well, you gotta do what you gotta...nahh. This is no place for potty talk. Moving on.

The bathroom required a complete gutting and redo.  Aside from the, uh, "unique" decor, the room was cramped, the fixtures were old, and the plumbing needed redoing. I know I showed you at least one pic of the bathroom when I posted all of the house's "Before" pictures, but let's take a gander at a few more, shall we?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You are Formally Invited to DIY

I have been busy. Making some pretties. All kinds of them. If you read the launch post, you caught onto the fact that I recently got engaged. I probably don't have to tell you what that means...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

1.5 Stories, 3 Bedrooms, 1 Full Bath...and a Whole Lot of Work

My goal is to post twice a week. It is thirty minutes to twelve on Saturday night. Let's do this. ;)

I know that you all want to hear about this little beauty, and it is my desire to please you. 

It wasn't too long after Dan and I got engaged that we started house hunting.  We are blessed to have here in Sturgis three of life's necessities:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What It Is, Yo.

Well, here we are. After much deliberation, and a fair amount of nail-biting, the decision has been made, and this, my second blog, is launching.

Right now.

Why have a second blog, you ask? Well I'll tell you. I'll show you. Things have happened. Things are happening. It started about a year and a half ago, when I was hanging out with a group that looked a little something like this:

And then, sooner than later, pictures started popping up on Facebook that look like this:

And that could only go on for so long before there was another picture like this:

And so then we decided to go ahead and buy ourselves a this:

Okay, so things are happening, see?

Well that's great, you might say, but I don't see how it calls for a second blog.

Allow me to explain.  As of just over a year ago, there were a lot less pictures being taken that look like this:

I moved. Back home. Away from the big ol' LU in the VA. And so, to better share my new life, which will start with my new wedding, and then transition into my new marriage, in my new house, with my new husband... we are.

I will still post at By the Word, don't you fret. (I know, all fourteen of you were like, "WHAAT?" for about half a second, but be cool. I'm still there for you with my infrequent and sporadically characterized musings.) I will just use this space as a more focused area, where I can chronicle my Brand New We-ness. It's kind of a..."Well my life is taking a new turn...this is the turning point," blog that will hopefully be full of all kinds of cooking, crafting, house re-modeling DIY attempts. This should be fun.

(And I'm going to try and keep my posts...less verbose.)

Sound good to you? Let me know you were here, and what you think! Thanks.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An F.Y.I. on the Blog Title

So, after just launching, I'm poking around the blog making sure everything is "company-ready" and it occurred to me that a little explanation might be required about the title. I can do that.

The blog was originally going to be all about the re-model of our *brand new* fixer-upper.

The title was originally going to be some kind of homage/spoof to Brand New Key.

Then, lo-and-behold, I realized there were a lot more new things than just the house...and I didn't want to just, end the blog if/when the re-model came to an I went through some different title ideas. "Brand New He" and "Brand New She" were both ousted rather quickly because then it would sound like a 'transformation' blog...and I still liked the nod to Brand New Key...

"Brand New 'We'" it is.