Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We're Under Contract!

I cannot even begin to tell you the excitement we have over our offer being accepted on a house this week! We are one step closer to finally having a place to call our own! I had tried to keep hush hush on the details surrounding the home with which we were interested in for fear that it wouldn't work out. We've shared several listings/photographs with friends and family and each prospect turned out to be a bust. You can imagine our disappointment, so I wanted to be sure we locked in THE ONE before spreading the word. We mailed out our deposit and the signed contract has been forwarded to our lender, and now begins the process of appraisal and inspection. We elected to have a home inspection and land survey done on the property so we could be aware of any issues the home might have, and so we know exactly where our boundaries are. We plan on fencing the yard in the near future to give us privacy and our pets a place to roam safely.

To ease some of the suspense, I'm including a few of the listing photos of the exterior of the home. It is located in York, Pa, and will situate us perfectly between our relatives. We have friends and family all over the area, and it also puts us within close proximity of Carlisle-- the car show Mecca of the North East. We've been long-time classic car owners, and so this will put us right in the heart of show season.

This house was built in 1938, and has a beautiful stone exterior. It features 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, has a large walk-up attic, and 2 garages (a detached 3-car garage and a 1 car garage located in the basement level of the home). The interior, which I will share more of once we close on the house, is very outdated. I'm talking black and yellow tile kitchen with burgundy 50's laminate counter tops. We've got some ideas already running through our heads as to how we want to tackle both the bathrooms and kitchen. Some day we'd even love to finish the attic space as it would make a terrific play room.

Hopefully within the next month all of our appraisal and inspections should be complete, and we will be ready to close on the home and move in. Until then, I've got lots more packing to do and tons of inspiration to pin!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, Monday

Happy Monday! Normally that would be an oxymoron, however I have some great news to share. We are excited to announce that we have made an offer on a home this weekend! We are still waiting to see if our offer will be accepted, but once that is done we will anxiously await the appraisal and inspection process. We're so psyched about our potential new home, but I have to say the amount of paperwork involved is surreal! My eyes were nearly ready to pop out of my head after reading the disclosures, and making sure we initialed or signed where needed. I was never meant for a desk job, so the real "work" (or fun) begins when we get the keys to our new abode and start getting our DIY on!

If that great news wasn't enough to cheer up your day, then you'll love the little treat that I have for you. While I was blog browsing last week, I stumbled upon Julia's page Hooked on Houses, and fell in blog-love.  One thing I love is to look at is houses. It has by far been my favorite part of house hunting. If you love it, too, then you'll be hooked on Julia's blog like I am. My favorite posts have been the real estate bloopers and faux pas that she posts through reader submissions. I've found myself often wondering "what were they thinking" when it came to some of the descriptions and pictures included on various listings, and some of the things she has blogged about are down right hilarious. Like this post about why homeowners shouldn't appear in their listings. It's sure to cheer your case of the Mondays!

So that's about it for today. Hopefully later this week we'll have some good news about our offer! I've been keeping things pretty mum about the place for fear of "jinxing" our chances of getting the house. I'm normally not a very superstitious person, but it has seemed like every listing I would share with a family member or friend turned out to be a bust or was sold before we could get a look at it. You can be sure that I will be going into photo overload once we close! :)

Friday, February 22, 2013


This past weekend we took a trip down to Pennsylvania to visit family, meet our realtor, and do some house hunting. We spent three days searching the area for houses that suited our needs, and after our first day of searching was finished we stumbled into an antique mall to look around. It was a great way for my husband and I to spend some kid-free time, and we even managed to score a few deals! I thought I would share a few of the things we managed to bring home with us.

Check out this amazing deal on Fiesta Ware that I found!

The gentleman who ran one of the popular glassware/dish specialty booths had two boxes of imperfect or chipped/scratched Fiesta dishes. He was asking $10 for a box of cups, and $8 for a box of plates, a bowl, and one salt/pepper shaker.

My interest was mainly in the three gray tea cups in the first box, but after haggling with him, I managed to score both boxes for $10! I love these dishes, and even with their chips, they're a great addition to my collection.

I think this bowl is the most damaged piece overall, but  from the top angle, you can barely tell. It'll still look great displayed on a shelf.

The next great deal I found was this $8 feed bag. The seller was not tending their booth this weekend, however they were running a 25% off special on their items. After discount, this cute bag only cost me $6.80 plus tax. I love the grey chevron stripes, and even though it has a few stains, it adds some rustic charm. I think it will make a terrific pillow cover!

My husband also walked away with a find. He's a big comic reader, so I pointed out a vintage Pepsi Collection Robin tumbler. He nabbed it up for $18, and while some may think that is pretty steep for just one glass, he was more than happy to pick it up this hard-to-find memorabilia for his collection.

Lastly, I managed to find a lovely wool rug. I'm not sure where this rug was made, but it is lovely. I love the rich blue color, and the simplistic flower design. This will look awesome on the floor of our new home-- maybe in the kitchen or in a foyer. It was priced at only $20, but the seller of this particular booth was also offering a 20% discount on their items so I paid only $18. A steal, if you ask me!

And that wraps up our antique mall spoils. I am very happy with our finds, and I think we got some great deals. I love rummaging through antique stores, and this just goes to show that some gems can be found in the midst of some over priced stuff! Have you been antiquing lately? Do you collect anything vintage? Tell us about your finds or where the great deals are to be had!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Terrarium Update

Last fall I posted about the terrarium I put together from an unused apothecary jar, and I wanted to update you on how our little mossy friend was doing.

As you can see from the pictures, the moss has been quite happy, and has been sprouting like crazy.

I still have the blank spot to fill in some time down the road. Maybe I'll find a little fern to put inside to keep my moss, stones, and gnome company.

I haven't put any water inside since I assembled the terrarium back in September since it hasn't been needed. This efficient little ecosystem has done a great job of recycling the moisture that is already inside the jar. As for the lighting, our living room isn't a particularly well-lit place. It doesn't seem to have affected the growth of our moss, however. Originally I placed the jar on the mantle, but it's since been moved to one of the end tables on the side of the room. The window faces the house next door, so we keep the shade closed. A small amount of light filters through the slats and from behind the curtains.

I think the ultimate test will be when we move to a new home this spring. I plan to leave the terrarium intact as we transport our things. I'll be sure to give another update once we get settled in.

Speaking of getting settled in, I have an update on our house hunting! And what an experience it has been! It was great to finally meet the realtor we had been working with over the phone, and he is fantastic! He really understands what we are looking for, and gives us all the information needed to make an informed buying decision. He hasn't tried to sway us in one direction or the other which is very important, and he is incredibly knowledgeable. I've learned so much in talking with him as we've gone through numerous houses. We spent three full days driving from house to house. There seemed to be more misses than hits, but we definitely came away from our trip with a house that we really like. Hopefully we'll be making an offer on a property very soon. Wish us luck! :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vintage Patterns

How many of you out there sew and like to collect vintage patterns? It's a relatively new thing I have been doing lately, and my last visit to the goodwill turned out to be extremely lucrative. I found a handful of vintage children's patterns for only $.25!

Now, I have a little bit of a fear when it comes to collecting things-- mostly because I don't want to become a hoarder! I like my things to have purpose rather than just collecting stuff for the sake of it. I'd definitely like to put these guys to good use, but not much is in Claire's size. For only twenty-five cents, I couldn't pass up such a great deal.  There is only one pattern that is large enough for her in a size 5. Perhaps I'll be able to trade them for something that will better fit her unless I can become proficient in altering a pattern for a larger size. Considering that I am an amateur when it comes to sewing, let alone pattern piecing, I doubt it will happen any time soon! Anyone have experience with this?

In the meantime, here are a few of the patterns I've picked up:

Aren't they darling? If all else fails, perhaps the smallest pattern (which happens to be a 1/2) will fit some stuffed animals. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dressed to the Nines

Earlier in the week I posted about some rainy day projects I had in store now that the munchkin has started school. I said I would come back and update on their progress, and I am happy to say that I finished each and every one! I'm proud of myself not only for sticking to it, but also for completing some things I have never done before (like make a dress). I also took a ton of pictures (warning: photo overload) of my handiwork.

I made this cute 2-tier skirt for Claire to wear on her first day of school. You can find the tutorial for it here. I strayed a little from the tutorial when it came to making the waistband. Instead of sewing on a new band, I just made my skirt lengths longer, and inserted the elastic into a partially sewn top hem. It sounds complicated, but was actually much easier that way. There are lots of tutorials on pinterest for easy elastic waistband that employ the same method.

She was cute as a button in it. Thankfully, daddy was able to come home from work to take her to school on her very first day. It was a struggle for me not to tear up that day, but I am overjoyed at how much she really loves it. I adore the owl fabric. It's colorful without being in your face. I love that I can pair this skirt with many different tops to match!

I also finished the potholder set that I was making for my sister as a gift. It's her birthday next week, so I thought she could use something special for her apartment kitchen. We also plan to take her out for dinner and drinks while we visit this weekend. I decided not to take pictures of this one since it's, well, potholders. But if you're curious, you're welcome to see the original post from earlier this week here. It has a photo of one complete potholder.

The final project I finished was making a dress for my Claire-bear. I found the cutest fabric at Joann's the other week, and knew it would make the prettiest dress. I didn't have any patterns on hand to use (I've never used a pattern for making clothes before), so I gladly snagged one for 60% off while I was picking up some extra fabric to finish the potholders.

Let me just say that I absolutely LOVE how this dress turned out! It was also extremely easy to make! I started it at 6 am this morning (nothing motivates better than leaving it to the last minute, right?), and completed it in time to head off to school at 11:30. Not bad for someone who's never used a pattern to make a dress or even made a dress before!

There were a few challenges in making this dress. I'd never used the button hole stitch on my machine before. That's okay, though, because apparently it doesn't work anyway. I managed to get a small zigzag stitch to work, though, and made small, skinny rectangles to cut the button hole from. I went over it several times to ensure that it was nice and secure. Worked like a charm! I also had to figure out how to line the inside of the dress. The directions weren't very clear on how this was to be done, but I managed to figure it out. I decided to leave the dress plain rather than sewing in an apron like the picture and instructions have outlined. The dress still looks very cute without it. I am glad it is so versatile, and I can't wait to make different versions of this same dress.

And of course, here is my adorable little model. :)

If you've got a little one and like to sew, I highly suggest this pattern! It's easy for beginners, and you can embellish it nine ways from Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Happy Love Day!

Happy Valentines Day,  from our family to yours! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

No Business like Snow Business...

So... Winter storm Nemo came through, and our weekend felt a little like this...

Which means we spent a lot of the time bundled up on the couch watching movies to recuperate. Anyone else here from the North East get hammered with snow? 

This weekend we are planning to do a little house hunting with our realtor. I am excited to see some of the places I have been virtually stalking looking at online in person. In the meantime I have a lot more packing to do. 

I've also been trying to knock out some projects in my sewing nook-- like a skirt for my daughter, Claire. Isn't that owl fabric so stinkin' cute? It will be a two-tier skirt with a gathered elastic waistband and a vertical ribbon cinch in the front. 

I also have a set of potholders to finish by this weekend (a gift for my sister). I was a smidge short on fabric so I had to make a visit to our local Joann's Fabric store in hopes that they would still carry it. Thankfully they did. 

Of course, it's impossible for me to walk into that place and not look at anything else. I found some more adorable fabric with little foxes on it that happened to be on sale. Patterns were 60% off too so, of course, I had to find a cute dress to make out of this fabric. It's a sickness. Could you blame me, though? I think I am going to make the little red one first, and Claire is going to look so adorable in it. At least I managed to walk out of there with only ONE extra project rather than a dozen or so. That's progress, people!

This week, while Claire starts Pre-K in the afternoons, I will have a couple hours to get some sewing done. Perhaps she will have a new dress to wear to Grammy's house. I can't wait to share the finished project with you! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

The hunt begins

We've been on the hunt for a new home ever since we gave our notice last month. Now that February is here, we are just a few, short months away from needing to be out of our current home here in the "North Country" of upstate New York. I like this area. I'm an East Coast girl, and to be honest, the lake effect weather here really doesn't affect me much. I never envisioned that this would be a forever home for us, though. I grew up in the orchard country of south-central Pennsylvania, and we have lots of friends and family there. It's funny because I spent a lot of my young adult years trying to get away from the place, and now I want us to raise our own family there. I realize now why my parents were so attracted to moving there-- it's a perfect place for a kid to grow up. There is so much to do, too. And while I took a lot of that for granted as a young adult (because, lets face it--NYC is just too exciting to pass up at that age), I definitely want my little one to get a taste of the history and agriculture that rural America has to offer while she is still young.

To be honest, buying a home is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It's certainly not as easy as going to the store, picking something out, and dragging it home with you. I think that our being in a different state has also added a little pressure to our search. The first step we took was to ensure that we had already been pre-approved by a lender. Since my husband is actively serving in the military, we decided to take advantage of his benefits by applying for a VA Loan. From what I have been told, they are one of the best loans on the market today if you qualify for one. The amount of paperwork associated with getting a home loan is surreal, though, and we haven't even made an offer on a home yet!

Next, we sought the help of a realtor in the area where we intend to move. Sometimes you land a great one on the first try, and sometimes things don't exactly work out. I'll admit that I am a demanding person. I have pretty high expectations. Not just for myself, but sometimes for other people, too. I can be difficult to deal with (just as my husband), especially when stress is involved. And let me tell you, with a move-out deadline breathing down my neck, I am feeling pretty stressed. But who wouldn't be, right? We had to try a few times, but so far I think we've got a keeper, thanks to a suggestion from our lender.

Our realtor has been sending us some listings that match what we are looking for in our new home. We also have been browsing online sites like and to see what is available in our area within our price range. I really like the Trulia app that I downloaded for our Ipad. If you're in the market for a home, check it out. I love how it has a city map layout of what is for sale within the parameters you set. I've been told by our realtor, however, that sites like these may not always be updated or accurate with their listings. Sometimes they do not distinguish whether or not a home is under foreclosure or if it is still even available. As it turns out, a lot of places we had seen online weren't available. Womp, womp.

Our next plan, now that we have narrowed down some listings that appeal to us, is to take a trip down to Pa and check things out in person. I'll be honest. Looking at pictures in these listings drives me INSANE! I have a hard time getting through some of them as they really do not showcase the homes they are trying to sell. Who really submits blurry or misaligned pictures and thinks it will give a potential buyer a good impression? I am far from a superb photographer, but gracious! At least try to take a more flattering picture!

So that is where we are at this point. I am still packing little by little. I am really looking forward to our trip to Pa. We've planned to go down in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we will find THE ONE! I know at this point we have our heart set on a particular place (and even a contingency home as a runner up should the first one be a bust). It's so hard for me not to get my hopes up, though. I have a serious problem with becoming quickly attached to things. It's a sickness. I've already had dreams about this home that we want. Does that make me weird? I'm trying not to "jinx" it, so mum has been the word. Let's hope that everything works to our favor, though! It might save me from acquiring a few early grays. :)

Anyone else care to share their experiences on purchasing their first home? Was it a stressful experience for you, and were you just as annoyed at the bad pictures provided on the listings? It's becoming a peeve of mine!