Monday, March 31, 2014

The new house:

As promised, here's the new house.

It's still completely bare but we're so excited to fill it with our stuff and make it our own. Take a peek inside after the jump.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Welcome, Monday. I don't think I've ever actually been so excited for a Monday to roll around in my life. Not because it's Monday but because this is the first Monday in our brand new (to us) house! And while we're just getting started on all the work going on around the Sever homestead, we're glad to do it. Thrilled, even.

We'll be taking a brief hiatus from this space this week while we settle in and get our bearings. We'll be back next week ready to share all the nitty gritty details of our move, including a complete walk through of the new space. You can catch all the action in real time on our instagram feed though: just click here.

Oh, and happy birthday to my mom today -- she has been such a big help getting us settled and we wish her the happiest of days today!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! Got anything going on this weekend? Ready for the biggest news of your life? We are closing on our new house today! You can't possibly imagine how excited we are! We are setting off on the first leg of our new life adventure and couldn't be any more ready. It's been a long time coming, people.

Get ready for the explosion of home improvement and upgrades coming your way over the next few weeks/months/years. We've never been homeowners before so we really have no idea what we're doing, but we'll be figuring it all out and sharing what we learn along the way. And we're beyond thrilled to have you along for the ride.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! Wish us luck!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The to-do list smackdown:

This past weekend was our last before the big move. So, even though my energy might be touch and go these days, we decided to become the most productive versions of ourselves and delve into all the projects we had lined up. And I'm happy to report we were very successful in accomplishing just about everything on our to-do list. Here's a little of what went down:

I finally got all the sheets made for baby M's room! My mom let me use her sewing machine since mine is currently packed away and I set to work. I followed the same technique I used for the last set (see here) and it only took me about an hour to make two more sets. I guess I got faster after the first attempt. So, once those were done and packed away, we were able to cross it off our list.

Little Miss Tillie made it to her yearly vet appointment to get her shots and a checkup. The vet gave her a clean bill of health and even remarked on her impressive muscle tone (all those runs and walks must be doing her good). She got a handkerchief when she was done and I had to take this photo of us together with our matching animal print. So, vet appointment -- check.

We took all of Andrew's old textbooks to our local Goodwill Book Donation center. They have a store here that is strictly books so we were finally able to unload all of those heavy textbooks that have been lingering around for a while. There was no way those were making the move with us and now, instead of collecting dust on the shelf, someone else might be able to use them. Win Win. While we were there, we browsed their collection of children's books and ended up coming home with 3 books for $4. Mission complete.

We got a lot more accomplished, including: packing up a few last minute things, cleaning, cooking up some delicious food to freeze and eat on all week, another DIY project (more on that soon), and boxing up and consigning some of our old clothes. We had a ton of clothes that we no longer wear so we took them down to our local consignment store and walked out with over $100. The extra cash will go to our new home improvement fund and the remaining clothes are getting donated to a local thrift shop this week. 

After all that, I feel so much lighter and much more prepared for this move (tomorrow)! It feels good to be able to finally cross those last minute items off my list. 

P.S. Today is the first day of Spring! Finally! This horrible winter is over! Bring on the flowers, bare legs, open windows, and sandals!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let's shop:

It's about time for another installment of Let's Shop. But are you ready for this? Because today we are shopping for appliances. That's right, namely, washers and dryers -- because I'm a real life grown up now and this is my life.

These days instead of shopping for clothes and shoes (okay, in addition to is probably a more accurate statement), I spend my free time researching appliances: prices, reviews, and specs. When we move into the new house, we will be in the market for a new washer and dryer. The ones we had in our apartment are about 90 years old and the washer needs a new belt. So rather than pay money for someone to come and fix it, which at this point, is just a temporary band-aid job, really, we've decided to go ahead and buy new. 

So every night, our dinner conversations have revolved around which models we like and why, and what deals we've spotted online. Because as of today, our search has existed purely on the internet. But Lowe's is currently having an appliance sale so it looks like this weekend, we will be going out and getting ourselves a housewarming gift: a washer and dryer (and a fridge too, but more on that later).

Is it weird that I get just as excited about a new washer as I do about a new purse? I guess that's adulthood for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New reads:

This week, I'm reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I've heard a lot of hype over this, her newest novel. I had read some of her other works (see here) and liked them so I put it on my to-read list (along with just about every other book ever written) and promptly forgot about it -- I am deep in the throws of the Outlander series and didn't want to start another book in the middle of my time-traveling adventure. But as is sometimes the case when you belong to a book club, I had to take a hiatus from my personal reading to delve into the selection for this month's discussion. That selection is this book. Have you read it? At over 800 pages, it's quite a commitment but so far, I'm enjoying it. It's a lot faster of a read than I anticipated. 

As with her other novels, I enjoy the author's writing style. She does a very good job of drawing readers in. And I'm learning a lot about art, which is something I have come to appreciate since reading Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty (see here).

In case you're interested, here's the brief synopsis: 

"Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal underworld.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antique store where he works. He is alienated and in love -- and his talisman, the painting, places him at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of striking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night-and-tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate."

I'm only about half way through but with all my other books in boxes, I'm not in any great hurry to finish it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try to read a book slowly when it's grabbed your attention? Absolute torture. Perhaps I will just have to pay a visit to the library soon.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Since we are moving this week (and mostly done with the packing process), I thought we'd share some tips on packing. Of course, everyone is different, but this is just what has worked best for us to make our transition as smooth as possible. 
  1. Start collecting boxes now. As soon as you know your moving date, start putting those boxes aside. Or, before, if possible. We knew we had an eventual move on the horizon so over the last few months, we've been stashing boxes away. Most of ours came from packages that were delivered to the house and ones that I brought home from work. I know you can sometimes score boxes from behind the grocery store but that has never really worked for us. Those boxes always smell weird and I have never felt good about packing my blankets in a box that smelled like rotten bananas. Check with your friends. Sometimes they have boxes that they can bring you. And I've also heard really good things about buying boxes at Lowe's and Home Depot.
  2. Once you have a general idea of when you'll be moving, start packing. I've technically been working on packing my books up since about September or October (see here) but we've been actively packing since January -- long before we ever closed on our house or had even seen it, really. I started with the things that I knew we wouldn't be using over the next few months (holiday decorations, board games, seasonal bedding, etc.) and just took it really slow. I think I averaged a box a week or something. Then, once we had a moving date, I stepped up my game. The past month or so we've been packing a box a day. Now our moving date is upon us and the only things left out are the daily essentials. 
  3. Make sure you label your boxes clearly. Mark each box with the room it came from and a brief description of the contents. If you do this, when each box comes into the new space, it can go right to the room where it needs to be unpacked -- no shuffling around or relocating.
  4. As you pack each box, stack them in a designated place. One of the reasons we've been so successful with the whole early packing thing is that we chose a spot for completed boxes to go. That way, we don't have a maze of boxes to weave through and each room can feel as normal as possible. This has been very important for Tillie, as change can make her feel a little uneasy. I imagine this is probably the same for children as well.
  5. Make lists: boxes to be packed, things to buy for the new space, last minute things to do, etc. If you're a type A personality, like me, this is a crucial step. It will help you stay on track, prioritize tasks, and keep you from lying awake at night worrying if you got everything done. Plus, the gratification that you get from crossing something off your list is totally worth it. I like to keep my lists together and when I'm feeling particularly stagnant, look over all the tasks that I've completed.
  6. Purge. As you pack, really look at the things you're packing. Ask yourself how often you use it; if you even really like it. If you don't use it or it doesn't really fit into who you are anymore, consider getting rid of it. Keep a (large) box to the side for these things. When it's full, box it up and take it somewhere to donate those items. We are constantly doing this with clothes and household objects. We'll be able to write these donations off on our taxes next year and the less stuff we have to move, the better. Now is the time to get rid of all that stuff you've been holding on to but let's be honest, are never going to use again.
  7. Pack the things you'll need right away together and carry with you over to the new place. These types of things include cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothing, and other essentials. We have a box designated for these things that we will load up the night before we close -- not even tape it up, just throw our stuff in and bring it on over. 
  8. Make sure you reserve some time for relaxation. Packing can be stressful and hard on you -- emotionally and physically. Build in some time to do something enjoyable. I limit myself to packing a box or two a night and then I take a walk or park it on the couch (usually with a heating pad because my lower back is killing me these days) and eat something chocolaty and delicious. 
Keep in mind that what worked for us might not necessarily work for you and your lifestyle. But hopefully, you can find a take-away from our experience to make your next move a little easier. What about you? Any tricks to packing that you found helpful? Got any great advice for unpacking?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! So glad another weekend is upon us! Two glorious days of sleeping in, eating, and lounging about. What are you going to do with them? This is our last weekend before the big move (we close in 7 days!) and I've been trying to stay on top of things by packing a box or two every night for the past few weeks. I've definitely made some progress in the packing department but not nearly as much as I'd like. I'm not moving as quickly these days and my back starts hurting if I do too much so there's still a lot (too much, in my opinion) that needs to be done. I'm afraid much of our weekend will be spent boxing up those last minute things. I'd also like to finish sewing the last of those crib sheets but since there's a very good possibility that my sewing machine will be in a box by that point, it isn't looking likely to happen. Maybe my very sweet mama will let me use her's.

Here's a peek into our lives over the past week:
  1. I started a new knitting project -- a lovely blanket for little M.
  2. Since I'm not able to run these days, I'm serving as a leader for the walking group in this year's Women Run Arkansas NLR clinic. I get to encourage the other ladies and having the accountability to make me get off my butt and get outside has been nice.
  3. We met with our mortgage guy just to make sure everything is going according to plan -- having the assurance has been great for my peace of mind.
  4. We had another doctor appointment this week. It was the one where you have to drink that really disgusting syrupy drink to test for gestational diabetes. The good news: everything's right on schedule and so far, no problems! We celebrated by eating lots of dessert!
  5. Tillie has been acting very strange lately. I think all the boxes and stuff everywhere is very unsettling for her so we've been extra careful to give her lots of hugs and snuggles this week.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Hope the weather is perfect for all your outdoor adventures!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We love:

Welcome to your Thursday pick me up. This video (that Andrew found and shared with me, so I can't take credit) has had me laughing for the past few days. Seriously, like the kind of laugh where you throw your head back and really let loose. It's the best for breaking any kind of funk you might be stuck in. And on a Thursday, when you're so close to the weekend but not quite there yet, a funk is almost always inevitable. So, watch it multiple times if you need to. You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Baby sheets:

I've been on the hunt for baby sheets for a while now -- ever since we bought M's mattress in January. The problem is, I could never find anything I liked. Well, nothing for what I wanted to pay, anyway. So, instead of driving myself crazy over what to do, I just decided to make them.

I had done a lot of research on chemical off-gassing from fabric so I knew I wanted to go the organic route. But have you ever priced yards of organic cotton? Pricey. Luckily, I found a few that were on sale and was able to use some coupons, so that helped bring the price down to something that made sense for our budget.

My fabric arrived on our doorstep on Friday, so this weekend, I picked up some elastic and got to work. It only took about an hour. Here's what I did:

I pre-washed my fabric to reduce shrinking and lightly ironed it to get any wrinkles out. Then I laid it out, measured, and cut it into a 45" x 69" rectangle. 

Then I cut an 8" x 8" square out of each corner (if you fold the fabric in half length-wise and do this, it's easier -- just make sure you don't cut the fold).

Then I pinned and sewed the cut corners together using an enclosed french seam to reinforce the corners and give it a nice, finished look.

After that, all that was left was to create a channel for the elastic. So, I made a 3/8" double-folded hem around the bottom, pressed it, and sewed as close to the edge as possible. Then I ran 2 yards of my 1/4" elastic through the channel I just made, sewed the ends of the elastic together using a zig-zag stitch for extra hold, and sewed up the small opening to completely enclose the elastic. That's it. Done.

We took the mattress out of its box (where it anxiously waits until moving day) and slipped it on to test the fit. It's perfect -- nice and taut. 

I found it surprisingly easy and can't wait to make the others! The prints are so cute, I can't wait to see them in the space. Have you ever tackled a crib sheet? Do you have a favorite source for organic cotton? My current faves are Fabricworm and Hawthorne Threads

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday! I have been out of town for work this week and am so excited to finally be home! We've got so much to do. What about you? Any fun plans? Hopefully everything will be thawed out from the freeze this week and we'll be able to get out and about. I am so sick of this winter business. Bring on the warmer weather!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New projects:

We've been busy around here lately. Between packing, cleaning, sloughing off the excess of the past few years, working on nursery projects, and work-related stuff, we've had our hands full. Not to mention the inclement weather we've had for the past few days. But we've since dug out and we're back to business as usual.

Over the weekend, we kicked our creativity into high gear. We've set a budget for ourselves in the new house's nursery, so after furnishing the space, we have little to work with as far as decorating. We've had to get creative and find inexpensive ways to bring color and personality into the room. Our latest creation?

This art for M's room. Made from just paint chips, glue, and some heavy-duty card stock that we had lying around, the total cost of this project: $0. Well, plus the cost of the frame and matting. But Hobby Lobby had a 50% off framing sale, so we snapped that up for cheap. 

We've got a few more projects up our sleeves, including more art and a side table, that we can't wait to share. And we'll have a total cost breakdown once the room is complete. We're having a lot of fun DIYing a lot of the elements in the room and I think it's sweet that this little boy will be surrounded by things that his parents lovingly made for him. Plus, pocketing the extra cash that we saved feels really good.