Early Fall

Okay, a reasonable person might be expected to believe that I had dropped off the face of the earth. In reality, the settling in to the school year along with various other unexpected occurrences has hit us like a freight train and blogging has gotten pushed to the back burner. But I’m here now! So I hope you’re ready for some pictures, because I’ve got a few to share.

This is a little half octagon table Nick and I refinished. Okay, it was way more him than me, but I helped a little. I am so terribly sad that I didn’t get a picture before he started tearing it apart, but trust me, it was UH-GLEE. Think sea foam crackle paint all over, and the veneer on two of the doors was badly damaged. That’s where he really impressed me – he smoothed it all out with Wood Bondo, and you can’t even tell it’s not original. The top was in good condition, so we just stripped, sanded, and stained it. We used a Rustoleum stain in Kona.

I shared this image over on Instagram. These lovely little banners were inspired by the one made by the adorable Bethany at Pitter & Glink. I made a cardstock template for my banners using my We R Memory Keepers Banner Punch Board, then cut two for each banner from dropcloth. I machine stitched them together with pink thread, then cut the words from htv using my Cameo. The font I used was Magnolia Sky, which is free for personal use. The flowers and bow are a variety of purchased and handmade pieces. I punched holes in the corners and added eyelets using my Crop-a-Dile Punch and Eyelet Setter, threaded in some random satin ribbon I had on hand, and knotted the ends on the front. On the back of each banner I hot glued a wooden skewer cut to size along the top to keep the banner hanging straight. The Create Beauty banner is hanging in my craft room (as pictured below), and the Be Kind is part of Lily’s gallery wall.

So this happened in late August. Sawyer wasn’t feeling well at all and we couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment, so I took him to the ER. By the time we got there he was having some breathing distress and they ended up keeping us for two days. We never did find out exactly what the problem was, but the best guess was that he had a virus combined with an allergic reaction to something that really hit him hard. Below is a picture of him hanging out with his buddy Chase, who brought him Play-Doh, cars, and snacks and spent some time looking suitably impressed with Sawyer’s grand tour of his hospital room.

Nick works for Lexus and they sent him this amazing gift basket, which was such an awesome thing for them to do!

Nick’s cousin got married last month, and we stayed at an amazing chalet near the wedding venue where they had this gorgeous handmade quilt on the bed. I’m in love!

We got to see Nick’s sister Kristin and her family, which was awesome. They live in Texas, and it had been over a year since we’d seen most of them. It was so much fun to get the kids together with their cousins!

Our Lily girl got baptized a couple of weeks ago, and she couldn’t have been more precious.

So those are a few of the things that have been keeping us busy lately. What have you been working on?
*There are no affiliate links in this post. I have not been compensated for using any product mentioned in this post. I just like to share what I have used in case you might want to use it too!
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Home. Finally

Hello. Remember me? So the blog has been on hiatus for a few months, but I’m just about ready to start up regular posting again. Here’s what’s been going on: we bought a house!

Here is a somewhat condensed version of the whole long, painful process: when I last posted about the house situation at the end of the year, we were still on the market and had had two contracts fall through. This was…disheartening to say the least. Then in February we finally had another buyer! Our closing date was set for March 24, and the race was on to find a new house.

We. Looked. At. So. Many. Houses. Our realtor Matt Cupp of the Derek Maples Team at Keller Williams Realty was soooo incredibly patient with us. We were looking for 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths, a 2 car garage, roughly the area we were already in, with a still reasonable commute to work for Nick, fenced in back yard, AND a bonus room/5th bedroom for a craft room. It was the craft room that was a killer for us. There were 4 bedroom houses galore, but very little with a space for me.

Then we found this amazing house that we fell in love with. It had everything we wanted. Everything. And the craft space was a detached space the size of an extra long single car garage, with its own bathroom and huge closet. It was a foreclosure, bank owned, and bidding was open. So we put in our very best, maybe even stretched a little too far bid. But we felt pretty confident that we would get it. Our bid was solid, we had a closing date already set for the sale of our old house, and had already been through inspection on it. Nick’s dad has years of construction experience, and he checked out the new property for us, so we were even submitting our bid with no inspection contingency.

Nick’s parents loved it, my parents loved it, we loved it, the kids loved it. This was it. THE HOUSE. And then…

A cash offer came in. They went with the other buyers. We were devastated. But we knew God had a reason. And the old house was sold, so we had to pick ourselves up and start looking again. Nothing we saw appealed to us. Everything looked so unsuitable next to the house we had lost. We ran poor Matt all over Knoxville and Powell and Maynardville and Clinton. There were a couple of houses that would have technically worked, but our heart just wasn’t in them. We actually signed a contract on one, but were relieved when the inspection came back with issues that allowed us to back out of it, because we just didn’t love it like the one we had lost.

Then Matt showed us the newly listed house on Cartmill Dr. And we loved it. And we bought it. We closed on April 22 and moved in the same day. Right now there are still a lot of boxes in sight, but we are making progress. And there’s even a craft room!

Here’s a quick recap of the journey over the last year with selling and buying: 136 showings, 3 contracts, foundation damage and repair, 5 (FIVE!) extensions on the closing date, 4 weeks living with my parents, and 1 contract extension on the contract for the new house (because of the 5th extension for the buyer on the old house). This was the 5th house we had made an offer on, and the 3rd one we had had a contract on.

I have to give a shout out to our whole realty team. Derek Maples of the Derek Maples Team of Keller Williams listed our house for us last year in a very slow market and kept a constant stream of buyers coming through. As I mentioned, we had 136 showings. And he was a serious rock star when it came to getting us through closing. Unfortunately our buyer’s finance company dropped the ball a number of times, causing the 5 extensions, which resulted in our closing getting delayed 29 days. Derek really advocated for us and ended up getting that finance company to reimburse us for the expenses we incurred due to those delays, which was a huge lifesaver for us.

Matt Cupp showed us house after house, and often checking listings out in person without us beforehand when we were unavailable for showings. He showed us houses as early as 7AM and as late as 9PM, every day of the week. He worked hard to get us the price we needed on the house we bought, and he showed up at closing with a lovely etched glass casserole dish as a housewarming gift. He was almost always available to take my call, and he was awesome about getting back to me quickly if he was unable to answer. Even though we went through way more listings that most of his clients, he never got impatient or tried to push us into buying a house that we wouldn’t be happy with. We always felt safe in his care, and we could tell that his goal was our happiness, not his commission.

Brandon White is the Director of Operations for the Derek Maples Team, and he really is the glue that holds it all together. I could always call him if I had a question, and he was there to hold my hand at closing on the old house. He followed up on a lot of items for me, especially during the drawn out closing process.

This was a really long process for all of us, through no fault at all of anyone (except maybe our buyer’s finance company, but that was only the last few weeks), and they never gave up on us or lost patience with us. I can’t say enough about how much we love them. If we ever decide to sell this house (not that I can even imagine that at this point), we will definitely go with them again.

Most important to us was the fact that this is a team that puts God first. Their motto is God, Family, Real Estate, in that order, and they have a weekly prayer meeting for their clients every Thursday morning.

So anyway, that is what the last 5 months have looked like. Now that we are finally home, we can start settling in, and I can start sharing a few of the crafty things I’ve managed to squeeze in!

Since right now we’re not quite ready for pictures, I’m going to leave you with the listing photos, courtesy of Zillow. We have put up a fan in the master bedroom, but otherwise we’ve not done much else.

LOVE all the wainscoting!

My new Craft Room!

A laundry room! No more laundry in the garage!

This closet. I die!

Secret pass through door between Sawyer’s and Lily’s room.

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Hodge Podge End of Year Update

Guys. Come on now. You didn’t really think I was going to go the whole rest of 2015 without blogging again, did you? Okay, okay, so I’m cutting it close, but I’ve been a little busy. Here’s all that’s been happening:

First of all, the house. We got the foundation work all completed, and it is now completely steady and under a transferable lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the buyer ended up backing out with no real explanation the very day we were having the work done. So that was disappointing, but the foundation repair needed to be done either way, so we are more prepared than ever for when the right buyer comes along. We also put in new kitchen counter tops and new backsplash along the sink wall, so it went from this:

to this:

Halloween was definitely better this year than last, but I didn’t do anything crafty in the costume department. Or take really any pictures, apparently. This seems to be the sole picture I have of the two littles who trick or treated. Lily was either Rapunzel or Sophia the First, depending on her mood and whether or not she wanted to wear the wig. Sawyer was a little more put together as a pirate. But seriously, what was the deal with this picture? Mom/photographer/blogger fail.

We also had a couple of things going on with the ladies ministries at church. Our Teachers of Good Things group had their quarterly craft meeting, and this time around we made easy burlap wreaths. Nick came up with a pile of wire coat hangers and helped me (mostly just did it for me) shape them into wreath forms. Then we just unhooked the top, accordion folded burlap ribbon, threaded it on, and rehooked the top. My awesome mom, who is a licensed florist, whipped up burlap bows for everyone.

My SIL Leah the wreath model.

We used basically this tutorial on Just Call Me Homegirl although as I mentioned, we accordion folded the burlap instead of zigzagging/twisting to save on time because our church life center had a second event happening after ours. In retrospect, I wish we had followed Homegirl’s tutorial more exactly, because folding it the way we did required more burlap (about 15 yards a wreath) and I found that over time it tends to compress and sag down to the bottom. I think it would work well this way if you were to first use a fabric stiffener on the ribbon.
We also did a fun Christmas Sock Exchange/Cookie Party. Everyone brought a fun pair of new Christmas socks filled with goodies and we all baked cookies and exchanged socks. So fun!
In other news, I finally got to upgrade to a Cameo, and I did a lot of fun projects for Christmas with it, I made a couple of cool guy gifts out of paracord, I made some awesome drop cloth Christmas stockings, and I participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange again, all of which deserve their own post. Happy New Year, guys!
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So I haven’t actually ridden off into the sunset…

I’ve been a wee bit scarce around here of late, and it will be just a wee bit longer before I can get back to regular posting, but I have a good reason. First of all, the holidays were CRAZY, but in a good way. But it’s had me busy mostly every day, between photo shoots, finishing up Christmas gifts, and attending multiple family and work (Nick’s) events. And then there was the tea. Sawyer somehow managed to knock a cup of tea halfway across the couch onto my poor laptop, which I was actually using at the time. Fortunately it’s still under an extended warranty protection plan, so it’s being sent off to be repaired, which I’ll certainly be glad to get done, but in the meantime I’m without means to post photos, a circumstance that isn’t quite conducive to being a successful craft blogger. SO…hang in there for me. When I get back I’ll be posting all about the Christmas gifts I made, as well as a few other crafts I’ve got lined up. Happy New Year!

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