7th House on the Left

Thanks to a quick Pinterest search, I have come to realize that anything and everything has been done to an Easter egg. They’ve been gilded, washi-taped, decoupaged, glittered, studded, chalk-boarded and even painted with nail polish. While I still have a major soft spot for the classic PAAS Coloring Kit (the smell of the dye still brings me back to my Grandma’s kitchen island), it’s official to say that we’ve gone way beyond the traditional dying technique from the days of yore and have moved on to more elaborate decorations. Here are a few of my favorites from the World Wide Web…

Not Your Grandma's Easter Eggs // 7 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas // 7thhouseontheleft.com

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I bought a set of wooden eggs on Amazon about a month or so ago. I planned on decorating them and being able to keep them for next year – as apposed to decorating real eggs and having to throw them away. I had every intention of decorating them by now, but there they are, still sitting in the project pile here in my office. After rounding up this inspiration, I must say I’m a little intimidated. So. Many. Ideas. I still can’t decide what to do with them and I might even end up saving them for next year – we shall see.

Do you have a favorite Easter egg decorating technique? Or do you stick to the tried-and-true PAAS Kit?

My Soapy Valentine

posted by Ashley  /  18 Comments

Growing up, I loved handing out Valentines Day cards to my friends. Most of the time, I made them myself, but there were a few years when I remember picking out a few boxes of the pre-made character ones. When I was 17, I handed out Bob the Builder cards… yeah… I still have no idea why. I haven’t handed out Valentine’s cards in a few years – probably since college. I guess I figured I was too old for it now. You’d think I would have thought that when I was 17, right? But this year, I thought it would be fun to revive my love for Valentine’s Day cards and come up with a fun something special to hand out to my gal pals.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I kept having trouble coming up with a fun, original, “not completely corny but still cute” idea until I saw these little, freakishly adorable, bottles of Mrs Meyer’s dish soap in the dollar section at Target. Aren’t they cute?? I loved the reddish/coral label – perfect for Valentines – and it smells super yummy too.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

The first thing I did was get to work designing a few tags for the bottles. I asked my brother to help me come up with “punny” soap sayings. You’d think with him being a professional singer/songwriter, he’d be able to come up with something good, right? Well, the first thing he said was, “Just add water…you’ll make my heart bubble”. Umm. No, Abram. No. We ended up with “I was soapin’ you would be my Valentine” (which, as it turns out, with a quick Google search seems to be a pretty popular line among the internet) and “You can always count on me in sticky situations”. Hahahaha… Now that I’m sitting down to write this post, it’s been a few hours since I worked on this project and I still think that’s way too funny.

Since the labels had a lot of straight fonts, I decided to use a fun “scriptish” font for a nice juxtaposition of styles. Is it weird I think about things like that? I was able to print 16 labels per sheet on a piece of 8.5×11 kraft card stock (you can find this at most craft stores, I got mine at Micheals). Click HERE to download the labels! 

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I cut out each label and punched a hole at the top using a 1/4″ hole punch, then fastened the tag to the bottle using some gold and white baker’s twine. Since the baker’s twine was so thin, I had to tie a good amount around the bottle before attaching the tag because it kept slipping between the bottle and the cap. This next bit of info might seem a little obvious, but people have asked before. If you tie a normal “gift bow” to fasten the tag, the tag itself will stick out perpendicular to the bottle. In order for your tag to hang down straight, cut a long piece of twine, bring both ends together, and insert both ends of the twine in the hole at the same time. Bring it through the hole and through the loop of twine on the other side of the tag, then tie your normal bow.

"Grown Up" Dish Soap Valentine / 7thhouseontheleft.com

And there you have it, a perfect “grown up” Valentines to give to your gal pals. Hey, who says you have to be under the age of 12 to hand out Valentines?! ; )

CHRISTMAS 2013

posted by Ashley  /  20 Comments

Happy New Year, everyone! On New Years Eve, we rolled back into Virginia from Florida – just in time to get showers and ring in the New Year in our pajamas watching reruns of Perry Mason. After a long day of driving through five states, we weren’t up for much. That makes us sound old, doesn’t it? We obviously took a bit of a blog break over the holidays, and we’ll be catching back up with our regular post frequency next week. For now, we thought we’d do a quick post a little more on the “life” side of things with a rundown of our Christmas break.

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

FAMILY TOGETHERNESS // As I mentioned earlier, we drove down to Florida (right outside of Tampa) and stayed at my Grandparents’ house. There’s nothing like your grandma and grandpa’s house for Christmas. They had every single nook and cranny all decked out for Christmas – and it was amazing.

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

My mom and brother flew in from LA (more on that here), and we were able to spend a lot of time with my aunts, uncles and cousins that live in the area (that’s me and my brother in the photo above). It was great getting the chance to hang out, be together and have some much needed down time – especially after my great grandmother passed away a few weeks ago.

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Packer (my brother’s dog, named after the Green Bay Packers) flew in from LA along with my mom and Abram. Needless to say, Bentley was more than thrilled to have his BFF around. We love it when Bentley and Packer hang out because Bentley sleeps especially well at night after playing all day. It’s pure bliss. On the other side of that coin, Bentley went from being cooped up for 9 weeks after his surgery to having over 20 people in one house at the same time. So his social skills lacked a little finesse (he was very quick to bark and growl at people – which isn’t at all how he is at home with us). This is definitely something we’ll be working with him on before our next big family get-together.

GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST // On Christmas night, as I mentioned in this post, we had our family gingerbread house decorating competition. Even though my house clearly wasn’t in the running due to an “earthquake”, it was a ton of fun, and we’ll definitely be doing it again. I’m already trying to come up with ideas in order to redeem myself next year.

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

With the help of you guys casting your vote, the winner was “Mountain Cottage”, which was built by my Aunt Dee Dee. My mom’s “Pebbles’ Christmas Cottage” came in second (which won our family voting round). Needless to say, my Aunt Dee Dee will enjoy holding onto the bragging rights until the next time. When the next competition rolls around, it’ll be on. Like Donkey Kong.

WHAT SANTA BROUGHT // Since we knew we were traveling to Florida this year for Christmas, Greg and I exchanged gifts a few weeks before the festivities. Greg surprised me with a trip to Ikea to buy a few pieces of furniture I’d been wanting for my office (more on that later!). I gave him a few guitar pedals he’d been wanting for a while. He would just go on and on about them, and I’d just act like I didn’t really understand exactly what it was. In reality, I had all of the specs in my head – right down to the model number. That being the case, he was pretty shocked when he opened it.

guitarpedals

Since, in my head anyway, guitar pedals aren’t “fun” gifts to give, I also gave him a few small gifts that I wrapped and brought with us to Florida without him realizing. (Like this geeky pajama t-shirt, the new Garth Brooks box set, and a Dalek Mr. Potato Head.)

Week before last, my parents surprised Greg and my brother with an early Christmas present of 6th row tickets to the John Mayer concert here in Richmond. Needless to say, they were two extremely happy campers. They’re both still talking about it! My mom, whom I constantly use as a sounding board for all of my decorating ideas, got me a bunch of accessories I’d been eyeing for the house (like this capiz hurricane, a lacquer office tray, a collection of Penguin Classics and a few other things). My mom and dad also gave me a copy of the original Mary Poppins script along with Dick Van Dyke’s autograph, which I admittedly got a little teary eyed over.

My grandparents gave Greg and I a Keurig Vue – something we’ve been wanting for a while, but never got around to buying. We’ve been home fore about 24 hours and have already used it twice. Love. It. Our lives have officially changed!

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

In our book, giving gifts is even more fun than getting them. One of my favorite gifts we gave this year was to my cousin, Brooke. She’s a total Disney fanatic (like pretty much everyone else in our family) and loves Alice In Wonderland. After doing an extensive amount of Googling, I finally stumbled on an artisan on Etsy who makes custom doorknobs identical to those in the movie. I died. And then I ordered one.

OUR 6TH ANNIVERSARY // Since we were already in Florida, it wasn’t a hard decision to spend our favorite day at our favorite place, Disney World. The crowds, parking and humidity were killer, but we made the best of it and had a chance to take in the amazing Christmas decorations.

Christmas 2013 // 7thhouseontheleft.com

To commemorate our anniversary trip, we bought this Beauty and the Beast throw for our “Get Cozy” basket in the living room (I sing “Tale as old as time…” every time I pull it out, haha). We didn’t have anything “big” planned for our anniversary this year because our family reunion was scheduled to be at Disney World next month. However, since my great grandmother passed away and everyone took off work to make last minute flights for the funeral, we decided to postpone it to next year. No worries though, that will just give Disney World another year to prep for the craziness that is the Porter clan.

I guess that about wraps up our Christmas vacation recap. We’ll be back later this week with our 2014 inaugural installment of His + Her Favorite Things.

PS Most of these photos are from our Instagram feed. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, look us up at 7thHouseBlog.