Blog-o-versary Round Up

Friday, November 21

Be sure to get your entries in soon, the giveaways will all close at 11:59 pm on November 22!

It's a Blogoversary Giveaway at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com with Awesome Books and an Amazon.com Gift Card!

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It’s my Blog-o-versary!

Monday, November 17

Well folks, somehow it’s happened…I’ve officially been blogging for 7 years! My first post was the lyrics to Jason Aldean’s “Laughed until We Cried”; I had no idea what blogging even was, but thought of it more as a journal/pinterest/whatever spot. Obviously, those posts have long since been gone, and many other things have changed.

This blog started out about infertility, then the longer that took, the more it became about other things, my quilting, books, cooking… then suddenly we had Avelyn, and I didn’t really qualify as an “Infertility Blogger” anymore, then we had triplets, and I REALLY didn’t qualify as an infertility blogger. Since then I’ve kind of been in a difficult dilemma, with trying to figure out what exactly I am when it comes to my writing.

I struggled struggle with the idea of being more than “just” a blogger, that perhaps I am a writer {duh! which every blogger is}, but it’s hard to embrace something and slap an official label on it. Makes it much scarier.

I have no idea where this blog is going in the next seven years or what God has planned for our family, this blog, or my writing, but I hope that you’ll continue to join me along the way!

It's a week of giveaways in the White House: Celebrating my 7th year of blogging! @LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

Over the next few days there will be a new giveaway every day, all of them for books that I have enjoyed and want to pass along, or books that I SO enjoyed that I went out and bought multiple copies to share with my friends! Be sure to check back every day or sign up for the blog posts via email {the sign up is over there in the sidebar} so that you don’t miss out!

Here’s the first one:

day 2

I loved both of these books and bought copies in bulk to pass along: I hope whomever wins them enjoys them and gleans as much wisdom and hope from them as I did.

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How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {For a lot less than buying them}

Thursday, November 13

This post does contain affiliate links. You can find my complete disclosure policy HERE.

I've had several people, online and in person, ask where we found our gallery shelves for our hallway. The short answer: We made them. I had looked at buying them and as many have found, they’re not cheap to buy: Upwards of $50 for nice looking ones. I headed over to Pinterest to see what I could find there for ideas. How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

There were tons of plans for “$10 Gallery Ledges” but they were all very simple, and I have no idea how they actually were $10 each, because the materials alone were more than that….maybe the posts were old. I ended up spending about $50 for materials, which gave me 3 – 32” shelves {still pretty cheap at $16 and change each.

What did I need:

If you have a nail gun and finishing brads, awesome! If you don’t I would recommend using a power drill, small screws and a drill bit slightly smaller than your screws {always pre-drill your holes so you don’t split the wood}. If you don’t have either, see if you can borrow them, OR if you want to take things a little more chancy, just glue it with a strong wood adhesive and clamps {I don’t recommend just using glue though…the last thing you want is glass all over your floor}.

I ended up picking up 2 – 1/2”x 4”x 8’ board, 1– 1” x 8’ lattice trim, and 1 – 2” x 8’ molding.

I also picked up some Gorilla wood glue {which I love}, 150 grit sand paper, a disposable paint brush, and black semi-gloss paint.

If you’re in a Home Depot or Lowe’s they’ll very often cut your lumber for you {I’ve never had any luck finding someone though}. They do have the saw and miter box for you to cut your own lumber, which works too. I came home and used our chop saw {I had all 4 kids with me, alone!}.

I cut all the pieces 32” long (or 1/3 of 96”). I wanted to get the most pieces I could out of my wood, without things being too small or too big: 32” worked perfectly for the space I had in mind for my shelves. Do double check that your pieces are all the same length before cutting them down, if they’re not, make them the same length and refigure your width.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

Once I had all my pieces cut and they were the same lengths, I took my sandpaper and just smoothed ALL the edges down a bit, not a ton, just enough to make them not sharp. This is really easy to do by hand, but I just had to use my handy-dandy new birthday present, which was AWESOME! How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

I’ve wanted a sander for a really long time, and finally, with all the projects we have this year, I got one for my birthday! I may have been unusually excited about this…I have a thing for power tools, especially when they’re MINE! This thing is fantastic! It works well on small projects AND big projects! I used it to smooth out some of the flooring in our master bathroom.

Anyways.

Once all the pieces were sanded I grouped them together for each shelf, it just made it easier to focus on the project this way. Now remember you can make these shelves as simple or as fancy as you like, depending on the types of molding you use…take your time looking at pictures of gallery ledges and decide on how you want them to be put together. I wanted something a little more fancy, so mine have more pieces.

The first thing I did was {following the directions of your adhesive} glue the 2” molding to the bottom of a 1/2” x 4” board. I put glue only on the molding, then I made sure it was flush to the edges. We clamped it {you can use some heavy books to do this too} and let it dry.

While I waited for those to dry we took the other 1/2” x 4” boards and the 1” lattice and glued them together: The lattice trim to the short edge of the board {this is what’s going to keep things sliding off the shelf}. It isn’t really necessary to nail/screw this part, we did just to give it a bit extra stability.How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

Now you have 2 pieces to your ledge: The back part with the fancy trim and the shelf part with the lattice. This part was a bit tricky and took an extra pair of hands. Using the Gorilla glue again we put glue on the narrow edge of the shelf piece and placed it just above the molding on the back piece, again making sure it’s all flush and nice. We did clamp this for a little while, it was tricky because of the varying heights of all the molding.

IMG_5239Once it was all dried {we left it for a couple of days, but the instructions say it’s dry in 2 hours} we flipped it over so all we could see was the back and very careful nailed a couple of brads through the back into the shelf pieces. This is definitely the part that I would screw or nail, because it’s what’s going to be keeping the whole thing together with all the weight on it.

Once it had all setup and dried nicely, I ran some sand paper over it one last time before painting it black. I did put some push pins on the back side so that I wouldn’t have to touch it when it was wet. I didn’t get crazy with painting the back either. I even missed some places in the front {Oops!}, but they’re not spots that people will see.

After that they were all done! They sat around for a few more days, until I made the kids help me get them on the wall {I need someone to hand me tools!}. I made sure that I found studs in the wall, marked a level line to follow on the way, and put 2 screws straight through the back part of the ledge into the wall. They’re not going anywhere. You do want to make sure you get a stud, so that they don’t rip out of the wall and come crashing to the ground in a heap of glass and memories.

Once they’re up, then comes the fun {or hard, depending on the kind of person you are} part…figuring out the placement of frames and pictures! I still have no pictures in my frames….maybe by Christmas.

How to DIY a Photo Gallery Ledge {for a lot less than buying them} at LifeintheWhiteHouse.com

Let me know if you make one and how it came out!

The Back of Our House Reveal

Monday, November 10

You can tell there is still quite a bit of work, but boy! what a difference!B A House Collage

We still need to finish fencing in the yard, move some of the old stone slabs out of the yard, and move the swing set. We had every intention of getting the deck and porch painted this Fall, but it just never happened. Now it’s too cold and the weather too unpredictable to attempt. In the Spring that will be one of the goals.

It’s still crazy to walk in the backyard and look at what is NOW the house. Everyone comments on how huge the addition is. It’s big, but it’s more a better use of the footprint that existed before that makes it look so big {a full second floor}, we only gained around 700 sqf overall.

If you want to check out more of the destruction the building of the foundation, you can find those posts HERE and HERE.

The deck is still boarded up so that the kids can play out there and not escape the yard. Once the fence is up we’ll remove it, and then build an actual gate in the Spring. We ended up going with LP SmartSide for the siding {in cream}, which is a wood composite, that doesn’t rot and takes paint, just like regular clapboard. We mistakenly ordered enough to re-side the ENTIRE house {Matt forgot to deduct for the windows and doors}, so next Spring we’ll redo the front of the house.

We re-roofed the entire house. There had been a fire in our house at some point and it had burned out part of the roof, so the front was metal roofing and the back was shingle, which was really damaged from the huge tree standing over the house. I’ve always wanted architectural shingles on the house, but given the tree and the cost of them, we went with the metal {in charcoal} roofing.

No one asked me what color storm door I wanted for the basement, that red just doesn’t work for me, but I’m not sure I can do anything about it.

The new windows {there are 17 of them} still need added trim work to get them to match the original windows, and we need to do a ton of landscaping: Know anyone who likes to rake rocks up? The back deck is all the wood that we salvaged from our old deck. We only needed to spend a few hundred dollars on some wood to finish it {it’s a bit bigger than the old deck}.

So, that’s the outside of our house now….or at least the back of it.