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Archive for October, 2009

Let the Dream Shine In

… or not.

Unfortunately, our Dream has East/West exposure.  That means it gets wicked* hot in the back of the house at the end of the day.

Also unfortunate, what is located in the back of The Dream.  Yep, our “target” area — kitchen and family room.  As we’ve said, we’re focusing on those areas first — to save money and our sanity.  So, it gets really hot back there.  That’s basically what we’re trying to say, people.  Wicked* hot.

Clearly, we needed something to block out the scorching Arizona sun.  Something that was functional and (in our opinion) home-fashionable.  We went back and forth for a l-o-n-g time on what exactly that should be – Roman shades? Curtains? Roller shades? Blinds? Valances?  The options are ENDLESS!

In the end, we chose a combo… the French doors got some Ikea panel curtains with a decorative rod, while the three windows along that back wall were outfitted with custom vinyl (but they look like wood!) blinds, which were surprisingly inexpensive at Home Depot.  (You’ll have to wait for photos – we’d be giving away our Family Room “after” if we showed you now!)… and along with the blinds, custom-made cornice boards… which we’ve also seen referred to as box valances.

here's one finished, pre-placement, being closely guarded by a fiece watchdog

here's one finished, pre-placement, being closely guarded by a fiece watchdog

The cornice boards were made from the fabulous fabric we received as a housewarming gift – our solution to aesthetically tying our kitchen and family room together.

To be 100%, completely, absolutely, without-a-doubt honest with you… we whipped these together on our own with no “how to” guide and very little sewing experience.  Srsly.  Yeah, our jaws are on the ground too.

And for the slight chance that someone out there might actually like to attempt making these cornice boards/box valance/window covering dealy-bops themselves… we are happily providing The Dreamers FIRST DIY Guide.  (CUE: Applause!)

To save our sanity, your eyeballs, and our finger tips from too much typing – can we all agree to call these cornice boards/box valance/window covering dealy-bops, BV’s?  The Dreamers like the term “box valance” more than “cornice board.”  No particular reason, just that “cornice” sounds ugly and we think these are pretty.  Also, box valance provides the perfect mental picture.  So, good.  We’re all in agreement.  “BV” it is!

Here’s your list of “ingredients:”

  • Plywood for front of box frames
  • 4″ strapping for framing the box
  • Batting material
  • Liquid adhesive
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Muslin – for backing
  • Staple gun with both short and long staples
  • Patience 🙂

STEP 1:

the first step, which should be obvious, is to measure your windows.  (thanks, mom!)

the first step, which should be obvious, is to measure your windows. (thanks, mom!)

Our  BV’s extend three inches beyond our windows on either side.

STEP 2:

Purchase wood for the “box” part of the BV’s.  We got some generic plywood for the front surface and generic 4″ strapping for the frame.

here's the wood we picked up before...

here's the wood we picked up before...

...and after we had it custom cut

...and after we had it custom cut

Essential info: Our BV’s are 16″ tall, 4″ away from the wall on three sides and a total of 6″ wider than our window

STEP 3:

Put together your wooden frame

2x4's provide the frame

strapping boards provide the frame...

nailed together with finishing nails to the front plywood

screw together strapping and attach to plywood with sheetrock screws

STEP 4:

Spray the liquid adhesive (preferably outside) to the wood — all four sides that will face out — and pat on the batting material.  Let dry for 24 hours.

STEP 5:

While that’s drying, you can get your fabric ready.  Home fabric is typically 54″ wide.  So, if your windows are smaller than that, you can skip this step.  If they’re wider, you’ll need to match the fabric’s pattern on either side.  This just takes a careful eye and precise pinning.

It’s also handy to iron in the seam where you’ll be sewing, then trace that line with a pencil (on the underside of the fabric).

that helps provide a line to follow

that helps provide a line to follow

hopefully, the end result is hard to spot!

hopefully, the end result is hard to spot!

STEP 6:

line the back of your fabric with an inexpensive muslin.

line the back of your fabric with an inexpensive muslin.

That will provide a finished look and help prevent the cellulite-like bumps of the batting material from showing through.

STEP 7:

Once your fabric is sewn and your BV frames are dry – it’s time for fun with staples!

line the fabric/muslin seam up to the inside top of your frame.

line the fabric/muslin seam up to the inside top of your frame.

make sure the fabric's pattern falls correctly and staple away!

make sure the fabric's pattern falls correctly and staple away!

we wanted our sides to not show a fold...

we wanted our sides to not show a fold...

so we put the fold on top and stapled accordingly

so we put the fold on top and stapled accordingly

use the long staples when stapling through the batting and 2x4's

use the long staples when stapling through the batting and strapping boards

use the short staples when stapling the back of the front panel

use the short staples when stapling the back of the front panel

STEP 8:

This is it!  Time to hang your BV’s!  We used L-brackets, measured, and leveled to make sure they were just right

put them in place

put them in place

You’re done!

one final look at our first completely independent DIY complete project.  wicked!*

one final look at our first completely independent DIY complete project. wicked!*

*Disclaimer on the use of the word, “wicked” – that’s for our wicked cool Maine friends/family.  (Hollah!)  Please don’t assume that The wicked awesome Dreamers use that word in wicked normal conversation.  See, we don’t even know how to wicked properly use that word without wickedly abusing the English language wicked more.

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We like to take risks.  We live life on the edge.  Okay, that may be taking it too far.  (We’re not skydivers or anything.)  However, when it comes to fashion and/or home fashion, we do like to buck trends (or perhaps try and start some?).  In fact, just this week, Mrs. Dreamer was told by a co-worker with a flick of the wrist and waved hand, “Honey, that does not work!”  To which she replied, “Whatever!” – complete with met thumbs and extended forefingers in the infamous “W” pose.  Hmph.

In a Dream-example, we know that our cornice boards are not necessarily topping the window covering “must” lists of home decorator “experts”…

…but we like them and they happen to fit nicely in our dream

…but we like them and they happen to fit nicely in our dream (hmph!)

And just in case some people might agree with us, a Dreamers “first” is forthcoming – A DIY Guide!  Stay tuned…

Anywho, we took that same, “How can we be different?” attitude when it came to our guest book for our recent Open Dream Party.  We had hoped to get our guest bedroom done – painted, furniture’d, bed-spread’d, blind’d, curtain’d, and accessorie’d pre-party.  But that just did not happen.  Oh well!  Why not embrace the open space of blank, white walls, turn them into the canvases they are, and let our guest’s freedom of expression run loose?  Hence, we present you with our Guest-Book-Dreamffiti-Wall:

a little different, no?

a little different, no?

We could have easily worked this into our “Paris in the Dream” post as graffiti was an ever-present sight in the many train stations we passed through on our trip.  But this Dreamffiti is not meant to be an eyesore.  It’s a fun memory.  When we do get around to painting this room, it will be covered up.  But we’ll know what sassy and sweet comments lie behind the paint:

"fill up those bedrooms!"  (umm... not quite ready for the baby dreamers, but thanks!)

"fill up those bedrooms!" (umm... not quite ready for the baby dreamers, but thanks!)

"it's a beautiful day in our neighborhood..." (from our super-sweet next door neighbors)

"it's a beautiful day in our neighborhood..." (from our super-sweet next door neighbors)

"congratulations! fabulous home!"  (why, thank you kind co-worker)

"congratulations! fabulous home!" (why, thank you kind co-worker)

we wish we knew!  (if you know korean, perhaps you can translate? they promised it was clean!)

we wish we knew! (if you know korean, perhaps you can translate? they promised it was clean!)

"have a great summer!  see you next year.  Go seniors!" (ha, ha, ha... nice one!)

"have a great summer! see you next year. go seniors!" (ha, ha, ha... nice one!)

Don’t we have sweetly clever friends?

Perhaps this idea got your creative dreams going?  Since we’re putting together our first DIY guide as we type (we’re great at multi-tasking), why not practice?  You just need three things for your very own Dreamffiti wall:

1) a blank wall, with ample access space

1) a blank wall, with ample access space

2) chalk (we considered markers, but found a box of chalk from Ikea to be a much safer alternative)

2) chalk (we considered markers, but found a box of chalk from Ikea to be a much safer alternative)

3) witty and creative friends

3) witty and creative friends

And there you have it.  Legal (and encouraged) graffiti.

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Open Dream Party

The host, hostess, and dog-host are rested.  The recycling and trash are gone.  The leftovers are put away.  The dishes are done (thanks to a great friend!).  The Open Dream Party was a success!

About 70 friends, co-workers, neighbors and family stopped by the Dream this weekend to make sure all of our “work” wasn’t just photo-shopped nonsense.  We had a great time giving personal tours (our “secret room” was quite the hit, but you’ll have to wait to hear about that on the blog), showing off what we’ve done so far, and just enjoying the company of people who love and support us.

Without further ado… some photos from the shin-dig…

mr. & mrs. dream ready to party!
mr. & mrs. dream ready to party!

The food and setup…

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Our gorgeous guests…

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this good lookin’ couple lives down the street… he also happens to be the pastor who married us!  how lucky are we to have them as neighbors?

this good lookin’ couple lives down the street… he also happens to be the pastor who married us! how lucky are we to have them as neighbors?

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the cute couple responsible for most of these pictures (what hostess wants to play shutterbug all night?)  thanks, c&b!

the cute couple responsible for most of these pictures (what hostess wants to play shutterbug all night?) thanks, c&b!

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bowdoin did his share of entertaining as well

bowdoin did his share of entertaining as well

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you have no idea how precious this photo is to us… our realtor and dear friend passed away (from a short and sudden battle with colon cancer) before he had a chance to see the dream… that’s his gorgeous and wonderful wife on the right… on the left, his partner that stood in for him and helped us seal our dream deal.  we absolutely love these ladies and the impact they had on our lives at such a poignant time.

you have no idea how precious this photo is to us… our realtor and dear friend passed away (from a short and sudden battle with colon cancer) before he had a chance to see the dream… that’s his gorgeous and wonderful wife on the right… on the left, his partner that stood in for him and helped us seal our dream deal. we absolutely love these ladies and the impact they had on our lives at such a poignant time.

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signing our "guest wall" -- more on that soon!

signing our "guest wall" -- more on that soon!

By the end of the night, two things were certain…

bowdoin was exhausted from all the excitement

we had one thoroughly exhausted bulldog on our hands...

and our guests were incredibly generous!

and our guests were incredibly generous!

Instead of housewarming gifts, we asked our guests to bring donations for two of our favorite charities — one that helps people and one that rescues puppies.  As you can see, our guests did not disappoint.  We are so grateful and thankful for their generosity!

In the end, it felt a lot like our wedding (a mere 20 months ago!)… we had a great time, but felt guilty not spending more time with each individual guest.  We had many half-conversations… several “Did you take so-and-so on a tour?” inquiries… and many “They were here?” moments post-party.  So, if we didn’t get to spend quality time with you, we are sorry – and we would love to have you come back!  After spending the remainder of the weekend on the couch watching golf, napping and going to other people’s homes for dinner – we probably have enough energy back to entertain you again!

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A Dream Find!

We are (almost) ready for our Open Dream Party tonight. 70+ said “Yes!” to our invite and we excited to show off the Dream. One area that still needs some love and attention is our master suite. Since we decided to first focus on the Dream’s common areas… kitchen, family room, guest bath… our room got pushed back to the “B” list. But, while picking up some last minute things, we stumbled upon the cute candles below – half-off at Kohl’s! Aren’t they great? Unfortunately, they didn’t have our last name letter, but we did score our first names!

We love the simplicity… black type, white background, and that zing of a silver rim. They give off just the classy touch we need to prove that yes, indeed our master suite is on the Dream radar! (We’ll have to show off the after at the next party.) And… they smell fantastic — creamy cashmere? — didn’t know you could make wool creamy or scented… but we love it.

Seriously, people these are less than $6 on sale right now. Run… RUN! (Unfortunately, we couldn’t find them online or we would put the link – just look on the sale rack in the candle section!) Another post & photo from the iPhone… God bless technology!

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Party Dreamin’

48 hours from now our Open Dream & Blog Launch Party will be wrapping up… but until then, we’ll be working hard getting ready to debut our Dream! One of those really tough tasks… Making sure the sangria recipe is just right.

A college friend hooked us up with a concoction that is allegedly, “fabulous!” Of course, we had to try it ourselves before serving it to the masses.

Half lemon – seeded
Half orange – seeded
Half cup strawberries – hulled and sliced
Half apple – sliced and seeded
Quarter cup sugar
Three tablespoons Brandy
One bottle of dry, red wine (we’re using Merlot)
Mix the above and let chill for one hour… Add two cups of Club Soda before serving

As you can see below, we faithfully followed every step. The result? Yumminess! Our guests will definitely be impressed.

(This is our first post from the WordPress iPhone app. Hope it works!)

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Dreamcet

There she sat, perched on the sink, neck extended in a mocking stare. Weathered and leaking… her taunting presence the topic of a few nightmares… her demise the topic for a few dreams.

This story's antagonist

this story's antagonist

Those dreams began morphing into reality during a three-hour mega trip to Home Depot. You may ask how spending three hours in Home Depot was dreamy? Well, in full disclosure, it was not. In an effort to get all of the necessary supplies for our extended DIY list (and take advantage of a 10 percent off coupon) we walked through every isle of the store. That plan proved futile and since, we’ve made nearly daily trips to the DIY Mecca.

one stood out from the rest

one stood out from the rest

However, during that stroll we spotted her, our dreamcet, and the DIY wheels started churning. After researching prices on our iPhones, we passed on snatching her up at first glance. A survey of online prices found that we could save $80 by ordering her online (technology rocks!). Sorry, Home Depot…while you kicked your blue-clad competitor’s butt in pricing, you couldn’t compete with your online rivals.

ready to become part of the dream

ready to become part of the dream

Installing a new faucet is straightforward. However, removing an old faucet, one that has been leaking, thus rusting into place, for 10 plus years is a whole other beast. A basin wrench is a must as well as a great deal of patience. And remember…when finesse fails a little brute force with pipe wrench pliers is a great problem solver. And–FYI–remember to shut off the water lines before removal.

100409 012With the old nightmare removed, it was a breeze installing our dreamcet. Just tighten the mounting bolt and appropriately connect the hot and cold water lines.

installed and ready for action

installed and ready for action

The coup de grâce was adding the coordinating soap dispenser, again, courtesy of an online retailer ($56 savings).

the finishing touch

the finishing touch

In recap:

  1. Installing a new kitchen faucet is straightforward.
  2. Removal of your existing faucet can be (is likely ;)) difficult. Don’t forget your brute force.
  3. Conduct research if you want to score a deal on a faucet.

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kidreamtchin

The kitchen is done.  Happy dance time!

then

then

now

now

If you don’t count the new stainless steel appliances, we did the entire thing for about $700!  (But, we did score a great deal on the appliances by buying them all at the same time at a locally-owned store and scouring the scratch-n-dent room.)

As you can see, we “inherited” some not-so-dreamy aqua-turquoise-green-blue-gray (everyone that sees them sees a different color) counter tops.  We have grand plans for much further down the road to replace them, but that was not in the budget for now.  So, we embraced the green-blue-brightness by painting the cabinets white (Greek Villa by Sherwin Williams).  We also added some warmth to the walls with  Colony Buff (also by S.W.) – at 50% color in the kitchen, full color in the family room, which you’ll have to wait and see later (but if you squint really hard, you can peek from the dining room mirror.)

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another angle on the kitchen

In addition to finishing the kitchen this weekend, we also finished the family room, guest bathroom, almost finished the guest bedroom, did some stuff in the living room/dining room (not priorities right now), spiffed up the front landscaping, cleaned up the backyard and hung some paintings, photos and mirrors.

it wasn't all pain-free

it wasn't all pain-free

It’s been a BUSY DIY weekend around the Dream.  (Bummer, though, the sewing machine pulled a diva move, spattered, sputtered, and quit on us (hoochie).  So, we’re not sure we’ll have pillows in party-time… hmm…)  Anyway, this is about all the blog-energy we have left… but, our many projects promise to produce many a future post… here are some previews:

painting cabinets (a HUGE undertaking and one we - and our family/friends that helped) are glad is done

painting cabinets (a HUGE undertaking and one we are GLAD is done)

our dream was "born" before microwaves were common household appliances... which meant some creative woodworking to get this sucker in place

our dream was "born" before microwaves were common household appliances... which meant some creative woodworking to get this sucker in place

knobs & pulls are tricky things... best to call in the pro's... (thankfully, our friend's dad is a pro!)

knobs & pulls are tricky things... best to call in the pro's... (thankfully, we have a connection...)

new faucet. installed. works great. no plumber bill!

new faucet. installed. works great. no plumber bill!

are they box valances?  or are they cornice boards?  you'll see in a future post... but the better question... can you spot the seams?

are they box valances or cornice boards? you'll see in a future post... but the better question... can you spot the seams?

Alrighty.  That’s enough for now.  Just one parting shot of our kitchen with a fork firmly in place (she’s done!).

you can see how the chalkboard fits in...

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