I forgot to blog about our trip to California! We left out on Thanksgiving day. The airport wasn’t too bad (especially when you can use the business class line!) When we got to Brandi and Howard’s house, we settled in and then started making a Thanksgiving feast. They have the greatest little house. It is around 100 years old, and they even have a picture taken from bird’s eye view of their community from the early 1900s. It has a lot of character.
During the trip we visited Sonoma where we went to two wineries and tasted several kinds of wines. I don’t like to buy random souvenirs because I never know what to do with them, so we have started a tradition of getting a Christmas ornament on each of our trips. So I got a beautiful ornament in Sonoma that is a real grape vine leaf that is dipped in gold. We also bought a gold dipped redwood leaf at Muir woods. It is one of the only redwood forests left, and I was also able to get my grandmother a baby redwood that she had wanted during her visit, but forgot to pick up on the way out. We got our first real look at the Pacific from Muir Overlook. We also went to a lookout area over the Golden Gate Bridge and got some great pictures.
On one of the first days, we visited Berkeley and the botanical gardens there. The vegetation on that side of the country is so different than here, I found it fascinating. Once in the city, we visited the zoo (yes, the same one in which the tiger escaped.) The exhibits there are so wonderful because you are able to see the animals so well. We did some shopping in China town…twice.
We got to see the sea lions at Pier 39, which I loved even though it wasn’t the time of year that sees the most action. We then took the last Alcatraz tour of the evening which is totally worth it if you have never been. We were taken by surprise when we returned from the tour because we were hard-pressed to find somewhere open to eat dinner. It is like everyone, even in the hot tourist spots, goes home at 5.
Brandi also took us up to see Lombard Street (aka curviest street in the country). I was so intrigued by the way the houses were built into those insane hills. We walked (climbed) past an elementary school and the children were outside at recess. Everything was just so different from how I grew up. Just some fenced in pavement on a steep incline of a street.
We of course went to the Apple Store there. The one thing we did not do was ride a cable car. This was my first time to the west coast, and I really enjoyed it. I am so glad we were able to see Brandi and Howard as well. Thanks sis!
Our open house is tomorrow and we are so excited for our family and friends to see the new house! I put together a little before and after photo album, so that our guests can see the transformations we have made. One thing I spruced up for the open house was the mailbox. I stained the post and put on a new mailbox. I also planted dwarf gardenias around the post.
I scoured the internet to find the perfect wording for the invitations, because we truly only want to show off the new digs, we don’t want anyone to bring gifts. It seems that the consensus is to use the term ‘open house’ rather than ‘housewarming.’ I also added a note at the bottom that we ask please, no gifts. Hopefully, that will make everyone feel at ease to just come and enjoy the afternoon with us. Here is the inspiration for my invitations:
We held our garage sale this past Saturday and there was SO much stuff to get rid of. We probably sold about half of what we had and took the rest to Goodwill. It amazes me that we had a yard sale last year in Carrollton with just as much or more stuff for sale.
Where does it all come from? This time though, we did a thorough purge. Nothing went into the house that was not absolutely loved or needed. It is so nice that we don’t have overflowing cabinets or stuffed closets. (Although our master closet looks a little sad, since we got rid of most of our clothes!) At this point the only things we have stored in the attic are empty totes and holiday decorations. And for the most part, our parents’ houses are cleared of our things.
Now, we have turned our efforts to the open house we are planning. I am so excited to have our loved ones come up and check out the new house! We decided to make a whole day of it. Our family will come up for lunch and our friends will come in for dinner. That way we can spread everybody out, but still only get the house ready once and buy/ cook food once.
How do you fill a whole house when you only have enough furniture to fill a one-bedroom apartment? With Craigslist, that’s how. From the measurements that we took of our new house, we found that the love seat we got from Bradley’s parents house is not going to work. So we are giving it to his brother, and we found 4 club chairs that originally came from an office on Craigslist for $35 each. We will be able to keep two in the living room permanently, and bring the other two from upstairs when we have large groups of company over. I worked on cleaning them up last weekend, and I think they will be pretty spiffy.
We also have a formal dining room in the new house, so we were able to find a dining table with 6 chairs on Craigslist. It is a dark-stained teak set that expands to be 60 x 60″, perfect for an almost square dining room! Our only wish is for 2 more chairs, but as of yet, we have not found anything close enough to the other 6. Unfortunately, because the table is a square, each side will have 2 chairs on it, and therefore we can not throw in two obviously mismatched chairs like we could on the ends of a long rectangular table. Oh well, we will figure something out. But I just love it and can’t wait to have our small group over for dinner.
We do have a breakfast area between the kitchen and the living room, but after measurements, we found that our pub table will also not fit. So onto Craigslist it goes! We really liked that table, but it is just too tight. Luckily, there is a bar in the kitchen, so we just need to get two bar stools for it and we can have our “breakfast seating.” Other than that, we have all the furniture we need for the new house. Surprising, since we have been living in a one bedroom apartment for two years! But my parents and Bradley’s parents have been so wonderful to store everything we could not use up until now. Update: The breakfast table has sold! And the love seat has found a new home at BIL’s house. We are well on our way!
We have had the new house since Sunday evening. Already, so much has been done. Bradley took the week off, and my mom came up Monday and Tuesday. She and I were finally able to get the awful “bears in the forest” border down in the second bathroom. She got the living room, kitchen, dining room, 2 spare bedrooms (the cheery blue is my office!), laundry room, 1/2 bath, and 2nd bathroom painted. She is a machine!
My Office (painted Ocean Kiss by Behr)
DH’s office (painted Pepper Spice by Glidden)
Guest Bathroom (wallpaper border removed, prior to being painted Toasty Grey by Glidden)
Laundry Room (painted Toasty Grey by Glidden)
Bradley’s parents have also been coming over in the evenings to help out. His mom has been shampooing all or our carpets! Everything is looking wonderful. He and his dad put up crown molding in the dining room and have fixed many “minor things” around the house. Thankfully, his dad is super handy and we played musical light fixtures. I think the only ones that we did not swap or change out were the living room and kitchen!
My dad also came up last night, and all “the guys” were moving furniture today. I can’t wait to see what everything looks like when I get home today. There will still be a load or two of boxed stuff to move from the apartment, but Bradley and I can do that tomorrow! Thankfully, we are able to take our time with the move, because we have the apartment through the end of the month. It is awesome that we were able to get the painting and cleaning done before there was any furniture to work around!