Monday, July 16, 2012

Hey Look a Craft

Aka my job has been taking over my life! I have spent so much time working lately due to various problems and issues at work that I haven't had much of any time for crafting in the last three months. My life has revolved around working, sleeping and maybe just maybe grabbing some food in between. It's coming to an end however and I can finally work on having a real work/life balance for awhile. Or at least until the next problem rolls around, as it undoubtedly will. But all the work has definitely been worth it, both in overtime pay which has helped us save for a house faster and in experience at my job. I've now worked through some of the most challenging situations we're likely to see, and now I will be much better prepared if heaven help us they happen again in the future. I've also gotten a chance to do some networking with managers from other mills as they have come in to help us from time to time.

Now that I've gotten off track talking about work, it's time to focus on the fun weekend activities instead! Ages ago I saw a cute door decoration on pinterest courtesy of Marsh madness and I knew that it would eventually make a great front door decoration. Our last front door decoration which we put up just before Christmas only lasted until about February until Steve declared that it was clearly a winter wreath and couldn't stay up any longer. We ended up going nearly five months without anything pretty on the front door because I just didn't have time to devote to crafting or even buying anything.

With work settling down, I took a trip last weekend to Joann's to see what kind of fun goodies I could find. I ended up with several cute storage boxes to use in our linen closet, tissue paper for another craft (coming soon!), a cute wooden letter and a roll of decorative packing tape just because I thought it looked pretty. I also found a cheap certificate frame at Home Goods that was just what I wanted for this project. Originally I thought I was going to paint the wooden letter, but then I realized how fun it would look with the packing tape wrapped around it!

The frame and partially taped letter. See how well they go together! I never would have guessed that this combination would be exactly what I wanted. I used a razor blade to cut lines in the packing tape so that it would go around the curves smoothly. There were a few places where i should have cut smaller pieces for a better fit around the curves, but it still looks so pretty. I didn't cover the entire back of the letter because it won't really be seen and the packing tape was $7 a roll!

I used some of my free ribbon from Steve's grandmother from my awesome ribbon rack to wrap around the letter and the frame so that I could hang it. It does clatter a bit when we open and close the door, so I might have to find a better way to secure it if the noise ends up bothering me, but if it doesn't then all the better!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

House hunting

It's taken us quite a bit of time to get to the point where we feel comfortable buying a house, but I'm so glad we got there. We started thinking about buying a house back in late winter but didn't feel we were really ready for it. So we decided to boost our savings so that when we did finally feel ready, the money would be right there waiting for us.

Fast forward a couple months and we decided it didn't hurt to start to see what was out on the market ourselves. We started looking at houses that were much closer to my job, sine I currently drive about 35 minutes to get to work. After driving by some available houses and through some neighborhoods we decided that being that much closer to my job wasn't going to work for us. We wanted to be in a nicer neighborhood and have good quality schools nearby for when there are school age little ones.

Feeling a bit defeated by this realization, we moved back into the "renting is better" camp. Last month we decided we were ready to actually commit to buying a house, which meant we needed to figure out what to do next! We put in applications to get prequalified because the internet told us that was the right thing to do. After getting prequalified from our credit union we needed to find a realtor. Steve asked around at work and got a recommendation from a colleague for a realtor that was especially good with first time home buyers.

Right about this time work got incredibly crazy for me, so Steve took all of the burden of contacting her and setting up an initial meeting. He thought she would be a good realtor, so I trusted his judgement even though I didn't meet her until we started viewing homes.

Steve and I decided we want 3 bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, and a kitchen that isn't too updated. I'm picky about what I want in a kitchen and have tons of good ideas on pinterest so I definitely don't want a house that has a kitchen that was recently updated.

Our first tour of homes was several weekends ago. We looked at 6 different homes with various floor plans. Our main goal for that first outing was to narrow down any floor plans we especially did or didn't like. Turns out that I don't care for quad level houses (too many stairs) and we both really loved the layout of ranches. There was one house we both particularly loved. It was beautifully updated and had a lot of character which we both want in a house, but it was clear that it wouldn't take long for us to grow out of the house. The couple selling it clearly had 3 small kids and they were out of room.

Cutest kitchen! Almost exactly how I would decorate it!

But it was pretty small.

 This house had a cool first floor layout, but the location was terrible.

The following weekend, we looked at 4 more houses and one of them, a ranch, caught out eye as being a fantastic house. It was quite reasonably priced and didn't need any work prior to moving in. In fact it likely wouldn't have needed work for quite some time as all of the big ticket items were pretty new. We did a lot of thinking and decided to go back for another showing last Monday. After looking it over one more time we decided to put in an offer as it really was just too good to pass up. Sadly, someone else put in a cash offer, which for the sellers is obviously more attractive.

Beautiful living room in offer #1 house

Naturally we were bummed that we didn't get the house, but we're getting right back out there and looking for something else that we will love. I had to work all weekend, so Steve went out on Saturday with the realtor to look at a few more potential houses. He liked one, again a ranch, enough for us to go back and take a second look at it. Steve thinks it will need some of the bigger items relatively soon (furnace, windows, and air conditioning) but its priced well to accommodate those requirements. We liked it enough to put an offer in today, but I'm keeping my expectations low as there have been a lot of showings on this house. Earliest we would hear back is Friday, so now we sit tight and wait some more!

Family room/formal dining room in offer #2 house

Fireplace in the living room.

The workshop in the garage (Steve's favorite)

View of the house from the back of the property line! Tons of land, which is quite uncommon for the area.