Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Steve's New Ride

Steve has been excited for months about his new ride. It took a few months for the bike to get shipped, but he finally got his hands on it last week.

Of course, he's got a light, a new helmet and all kinds of other accessories for it already, but I can't help but feel happy for him because he is so into it. His plan is to ride the bike to school instead of driving. According to Google Maps, it is exactly 4.7 miles from our house to the UVA Law School- up hill both ways.

Unfortunately for Steve, that is actually possible... and true. There is a giant hill down, then back up going both ways, to and from, the school. It is going to be quite a workout! Luckily, he is excited and took the bike out for the first time a few days ago.

*Image courtesy of REI

Happy Birthday America!

I am so excited that this weekend is the 4th of July. It is such a great holiday that holds wonderful memories for Steve and I- last year at sunrise, we got engaged on July 4th!

This year, we are going to visit our friends, Corbin and Tyler Franklin in the Northern Neck for the 'ol red, white & blue. And we are so excited! Corbin & Tyler have planned a weekend packed with fun, including a crab feast, boat cruising in the Nauty Rose (the Franklin's new boat!) and lots of fireworks. Can't wait!
I love these 4th inspired photos- Happy Birthday America!

*Images from Pottery Barn


Another gorgeous sunset from the guest room window.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Project

This morning, after Steve left for work at 8:00 am, I couldn't go back to sleep. Normally, I have no problem with that. :o) But today, for some reason, I was totally awake... and feeling inspired.

What could be better on a bright, sunny morning than working in the yard? Not much, plus, our yard needs A LOT of help. Similarly to the rest of the house, the previous owners gave no love to the yard. So I snapped a few pre-work photos, got on my gardening gear and worked for about 4 hours.

The idea was to clean things up. As of now, we haven't decided exactly what we want to do out back. Not sure about patio vs. deck, etc. so we are still trying to make a definitive plan. However, in the mean time, we needed to cut back the over growth and I want to plant some plants! I haven't made it to a nursery yet, but I did some major clean up!

Here is the result.



Yay! So much better. And I love the solar powered lanterns that Donna and Skip gave us as part of our housewarming gift! They are perfect.

Now we are all ready for new bright and beautiful plants and a new outdoor space.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Exploring C-ville

So, as you know, we moved to Charlottesville, VA. It is a gorgeous place. There are mountains, hiking trails, wineries, breweries, rivers, state attractions and more.

It’s great… except that with everything else we have had going on for the past month, we really have not had time to do any of those fun things! But, this past week, we got to do a little bit of exploring. Mostly because we had our some very special visitors come and stay with us.

June 22- 24, Steve’s parents, Donna and Skip came to stay with us. After they got to see the house with the newly completed kitchen and with furniture this time (the last time they were here, we had not moved our stuff into the house yet!) we went to the Downtown Mall and had dinner, outside, at one of the restaurants there.
The Downtown Mall is such a neat area, with one long street that is closed off to cars and has all kinds of shopping, restaurants with tons of outdoor seating, ice-cream and gelato places, sidewalk vendors, wine stores and more. If you walk all the way down, you arrive at the amphitheater, where there are summer concerts and events.

We also tasted the gelato at Splendora’s Gelato Café while we were there and fell in love with it. It was so tasty and refreshing.
On Wednesday, we visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home, which happens to be about a 5 minute drive from our house. It was beautiful and really neat to learn about TJ’s hobbies and accomplishments, tour his home, the gardens and the grounds of the estate. We had a wonderful time and finished the day off with a stop at Thomas Jefferson Vineyard, which is just a short drive up the road from Monticello. Yum!

It was a great time and we are so glad that they came to visit on their way back down to Florida!

This past weekend, our good friends from Richmond, the Fleming’s came to celebrate Courtney’s birthday during the day and stay with us on Sunday night. It conveniently works out that Jeff is working in Charlottesville right now, so his Monday morning commute was an easy one.

They arrived around noon on Sunday and after happily welcoming them to our new house (we hadn’t seen them in over a month- which is wayyyy too long and not normal for us.) we hit the trail… the brewery and winery trail that is!

First stop, Blue Mountain Brewery, in Afton VA. It was about a 20 minute ride from our house and the perfect way to start off the HOT day. We took a beer “flight” and shared samples of each of the six beers that they brew and decided on a delicious pizza and pint for each couple to share. Both the pizzas and the pints are large enough for two and it was a great beginning to our trip.
We decided to wait until the trip back home to fill up our “growler’s” of beer, because the likelihood of the beer not boiling in the car while we were wine tasting was… slim to none.

Next on the list- Cardinal Point Vineyard. Just a few minutes drive from Blue Mountain, we stopped at Cardinal Point Winery next. After sampling the yummy whites and reds, we selected two bottles, Rockfish Red and the Viognier.

A couple miles across the way, we found ourselves at Veritas Winery. As we approached the tasting room, we could see that this vineyard was a little more built up and stately. There was a large tasting room, with plenty of seating, high ceilings and vineyard inspired décor. A perfect place to spend a day- in my opinion! After sharing both flights of the white and red wines, we were really impressed by not only the ambiance of the place, but also, by the quality and taste of the wine. So much so, that we joined the wine club. We left with three bottles of delicious wines and dates marked on our calendars to come back for the summer concert series hosted at the winery. Very excited to go back July 10th and listen to Abbey Road, a Beatles cover band!

On our way back home, we stopped by Blue Mountain one more time and filled up our growler’s with some delicious brew. After a long day of brewery and winery hopping- we grilled out at the house and watched Avatar. It was a great visit and we can’t wait to have more of them.

There are so many excursions to be had (and so many beautiful sunsets to view from our guest room)- we need more visitors!

Cabinets, cabinets everywhere… seriously, they were everywhere.

Our cabinets are DONE! And they are beautiful. But, let’s not forget how much work (and time) it took to get these babies up and looking like new.

Please recall the previous pictures of these uglies...

Not so nice.
Gold handles on the cabinet doors, no pulls on the drawers, so early ‘90’s… ick. Oh, and what you can’t get from this picture is that the cabinet doors were sticky. And grimy. It was gross.

So, the idea was to transform these old 90’s looking cabinets into modern, dark “espresso” stained cabinets that matched our kitchen table and other furniture and gave our downstairs bathroom a “spa” like feel that was comfortable and relaxing for guests.

Here is the day by day break down as to how I did it:

Day 1: May 26, 2010
Mom and I removed all the cabinet doors from the hinges (and the hinges from the frames) and sanded the cabinet doors.
Drilled holes into the drawers to attach the pulls.
New brushed nickel hinges, pulls for the drawers and handles for the doors were purchased.
*Doors are off of the frames and stacked against the wall at this point. There were 24 cabinet doors. Yes, 24 doors.

Break for bachelorette parties, weddings and our Honeymoon

Day 2: June 16, 2010
Garbage bags taped to inside of frames to protect our stuff from getting dusty/stained, etc.
Sanded the frames of the cabinets and the drawers.
Also sanded the downstairs bathroom frame.

Day 3: June 17, 2010
Made trip to Lowe’s to purchase Minwax Polyshades (stain and polyurethane all in one) to try to find the shade that would best match our dark furniture.

Day 4: June 18, 2010
First and second coats of stain applied to frame in kitchen, bathroom, and kitchen drawers. Each coat took six hours to dry.

Day 5: June 19, 2010
Third coat of stain applied to frame in kitchen, bathroom, and kitchen drawers. Took garbage bags down from inside cabinets (yay! we could get to our dishes, glasses and food again for like, a few hours!)
Attached pulls to drawers.
Cabinet doors spread all over the kitchen and wood filler used to fill the holes that were in them that we didn’t need (our new hardware was a different size than the old ones.)
First coat of stain applied to the front of the cabinets.
*Cabinet doors (all 24 of them) are spread all over the downstairs floor. Even Bella had a hard time getting around them!

Day 6: June 20, 2010
Second coat of stain applied to cabinet doors.
Measured, marked and drilled new holes in the cabinet doors.
Third coat applied to front of cabinets.

Day 7: June 21, 2010
First, second and third coats applied to the back of the cabinet doors (I got up really early and stayed up really late this day- Steve’s parents were coming to visit the next day and I HAD to get the cabinet doors off of floor before they got there. Oh, and I wanted it to be finished so that they could see the final result of all this hard work- duh!)

Day 8: June 22, 2010
Time to see what they look like!
Screwed in new hinges to cabinet frame, cabinet doors to hinges, and new hard ware to cabinet doors.
Put the finishing touches on everything and ran around like a crazy lady trying to clean the house and put everything together before Donna and Skip arrived!
It worked and everything looked nice and pretty for when Steve got home from work, and his parents arrived. They all loved them!

Day 9: June 24, 2010
Painted the kitchen to match the rest of the downstairs, now that the cabinets were finished. It looked beautiful!
Shewww… It was a lot of work. Long, tedious project that just about drove me crazy, but…






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