7th House on the Left


posted by Ashley  /  24 Comments

It’s no secret that we love Christmas around here. Last year, we even built a huge Christmas vintage TV for the front yard – which we won’t be doing again. Ever. But yeah, we’re that kind of crazy about Christmas. We typically start putting out Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. A day filled with hot chocolate, tree decorating, internet shopping and pajamas followed by a night filled with Christmas movies is our kind of Black Friday. While it’s not time to start decking the halls just yet, it is time to start thinking about it.

November To-Do List // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Being a fan of lists – I’ve even been known to make lists of lists – the other day, I put together our to do list for the month of November (some house-related, some not). Things are bound to get hectic once Thanksgiving rolls around and it will be here before we know it. As Christmas is getting closer and closer, I really want to get our proverbial ducks in a row enough to really enjoy the Christmas season and breeeeeeathe. Sure, we’re still going to have house projects to work on and work stuff to finish up before the new year, but having a few things out of the way will help turn the crazy into, well, not so crazy. Here’s what’s on our list of to-dos…

01 // Deep clean the entire house. We like to give the house a really deep clean every few months or so. Doing it in November, before the Thanksgiving prep begins, is (in our books) key to a peaceful and clean holiday season. If we spend a day (or two, or three) giving everything and every room in the house a good and deep scrub down, that will make regular house cleaning a lot easier and faster during the busy season.

02 // Clean the windows. Around our neck of the woods, Fall is a great time to clean exterior windows because the bugs are dying and pollen season is over. Yeah, it’s not fun, but once it’s done, it’s really nice to start off a new season of snow weather with sparkly clean windows. Speaking of window cleaning, click on over here to win a Professional Fish Window Cleaning Kit.

03 // Schedule our get-togethers. This year, we’re headed to Florida for Christmas to hang out with my side of the family. Since we’ll be out of town, we’re going to schedule other times to exchange gifts and do the Christmas thing with Greg’s family. Needless to say, everyone’s holiday calendars tend to fill up fast. In that case, even though we’re weeks away, we’re currently tossing around a few dates to set in stone on the calendar – which will make this the first thing we’ll be knocking off our to-do list.

04 // Design, Print, Address + Stamp Christmas Cards. Last year… let’s just say we were a “little” late when it came to sending out our Christmas cards. So late in fact that we didn’t even send them. So, I was left with three sheets of custom-printed mailing stamps with Bentley’s photo and “2012”. Yeah, go me. Lesson learned. This year! I’m going to be on the ball and get these little suckers designed, printed, addressed and stamped before Thanksgiving. I know that seems super early, but once Thanksgiving has come and gone, all I have to do is pop the cards in the mail and I will have conquered the world. Okay, not really. But you know what I mean.

05 // Stock the pantry with baking essentials. Something about the smell of something yummy baking in the oven gets you in the holiday sprit, right? I’m not really an avid baker throughout the year, but I like baking with my family around the holidays. Since I’m pretty sure we don’t have confectioners sugar in the pantry already, I’m going to go ahead and start stocking up on the essentials. On that note, one year, every single area grocery store in our area was sold out of canned pumpkin. Seriously. So, I’m going to be sure to pick up a few cans just in case.

06 // Hang the Christmas lights on the house. Last year, we had to decorate the outside of the house the week before Halloween because we were taking part in a “holiday style challenge” for Home Depot. We definitely had a few weird looks from people driving down the road, but it had to be done. This year, we’re still planning on hanging the icicle lights on the house early, but not until about the third week of November. That way, the weather won’t be unbearably cold yet. We won’t turn them on until Thanksgiving night (that’s kind of a tradition around our area of town).

07 // DIY an Advent Calendar. I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but when I think about it, it’s always too late. This year, I’m determined to get that baby done before the first. Now, let me pause while I go put numerous reminders in my iPhone.

08 // Start (or finish) buying Christmas gifts. I’m one of those people who think about gift ideas for people in our life year-around. I’ve found that a private Pinterest board is the best way for me to keep track of them without running the risk of someone seeing it. So around this time, I have a pretty good idea of who’s getting what from Greg and me. In that case, now is the time to start buying gifts. That way, we don’t end up spending a lot of money at one time and it’s all pretty spaced out and we can save money of expedited shipping. I keep all of the gifts we buy on the top shelf of the guest room closet (we actually already have a few gifts stashed away in there). So, when it’s time to start wrapping, I know where everything is.

09 // Make a Christmas activity to-do list. If you live in Richmond, you’re well aware of the awesome Christmas lights downtown. They have the entire James Center Plaza decorated with gobs and gobs of deer with little white lights. If you search long enough, you can find Rudolph! Our wedding reception was at the Bull & Bear Club, which is on the top floor of the James Center. Since we got married right after Christmas (on the 29th), all of the lights were still lit. For that reason, it’s always a special thing for us to go downtown to see the lights. Since we got married, Greg and I have wanted to go to the Grand Illumination that takes place the first week of December, but it’s always too late to schedule it in our calendar once the ads start popping up on the local news. Which is why, a to-do list for Christmas activities is a must. If we schedule things far enough in advance, we’ll hopefully be able to get around to everything Christmas-y we’ve been wanting to do.

10 // Break out the Christmas music. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”. As far as the Christmas music is concerned, I actually started listening to it a few weeks ago. Yeah, I told you we were crazy. Our cable company has a group of music channels that are actually pretty good. We like having it on the “Singers and Swing” channel throughout the year, but when Thanksgiving gets closer, they break out the Christmas music on the “Sounds of the Season” channel. As the music is paling, the screen displays Christmas photos and fun Christmas trivia. They have a great mix of mostly old classics (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc) mixed in with new classics (Mariah Carey, Lady Antebellum, etc).

That about wraps up the gist of our To D0’s. We’re hoping by slaying this list over the next few weeks, our holidays may be a bit merrier and brighter. How about you, do you have any November to-do’s to add to the list? When do you start decorating for Christmas? My BFF is married to “Mr Christmas”. After agreeing that if he got 100 likes on his Facebook status, she’d let him put up the Christmas tree. Well, after nearly 200 likes, they now have two Christmas trees up in their house. At least we’re not that crazy ; )

Altered image from here.

The temperatures are dropping, the bugs have stopped making nests, and the pollen is out of the air. Yep. Fall is here. With the Fall season making its annual debut, there plenty of things homeowners can put on their to do list for the exterior of the house, and cleaning the windows is sitting right near the top of ours. Cleaning your windows is a great way to make the outside of your house look great, and it’s just as nice for sitting inside looking out. I’m not going to act like cleaning windows is a fun thing to do (it’s really not), but if you have the right equipment and a good cleaning product, the job goes a lot smoother, and the results are worth it.

Fish Window Cleaning Giveaway // 7thhouseontheleft.com

To help with this task, Fish Window Cleaning is here to give one lucky reader a Professional Window Cleaning Kit, which includes 3 cans of their famous Fish Foam (a friend of mine says this stuff is truly impressive), 2 micro fiber towels, a 10″ squeegee, an 18″ squeegee, an 18″ mop, and a 2.75lb bucket (a $110 value!).

Here’s how to enter… Scroll down to the giveaway widget below and log in with your Facebook account. If you’d rather not use your Facebook account, or don’t have one, just enter your email address (registering with a password, etc is not required). As always, your information is kept private! Once you’ve done that, you’ll be shown the entry requirements set by yours truly. Click the “Do it!” button, type the phrase in the blank in the widget, then click “Enter!”. Now that you’ve entered, you’ll see some optional entry options. To gain additional entries and increase your chances of winning the prize, you can do one or all of them. If you already follow Fish Window Cleaning or 7th House, go ahead and enter your Facebook or Twitter info, and you’ll be automatically given the extra entries. This giveaway is open to those in the US only (no PO boxes, please) and as usual, the winner will be chosen using Random.org. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A few nights ago, I was cleaning the half bathroom and it suddenly dawned on me… why haven’t we finished this room yet? I really have no idea. It wouldn’t take much… wall art, a few small accessories and a pretty soap dispenser and we’d be in business. Here’s a glimpse at what it looked like when we bought the house…

Half Bathroom Before / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty but the photo actually made it look better than it really was. The countertop was just sitting on top of the vanity and on top of that, the vanity was ultra short – way too short for my 6’7″ better half. And here’s what the bathroom is looking like these days…

Half Bathroom Progress // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Hardest room to take a photo of… ever. As you can see, what’s there now is pretty Plain Jane and completely lacking color. On the other hand, it’s come a long way since we got the keys to the house. Over time, it dort of became a project by association. When the hardwood floors were done in the laundry room, we naturally included this room. When we ordered the cabinets for the kitchen, we also placed an order for another sink cabinet. When we re-painted the laundry room, that meant the half bath as well.

To date, we’ve removed the vanity and toilet, replaced the tile floors with hardwood, installed a new toilet, had a new vanity installed, added quartz countertops along with an under-mount sink, painted the walls and the trim, added a window shade and hung a hand towel and toilet paper holder. Seeing as how there’s not much to do to call this room “done”, we thought it would be fun to focus on this area over the next few weeks between our other projects. And here’s our starting point…

Bathroom Mirror // Ballard Designs // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Almost a year ago, we got this mirror for the half bathroom. It’s fun, slightly rustic (the finish is “distressed” and slightly modern all in one – aka, our cup of tea. We have yet to hang the mirror in the bathroom because the current light fixture – well, the light bulb that’s sticking out of the wall – is too low. So, before we can hang the mirror, we have to remove the light, patch the hole and replace the existing exhaust fan with an exhaust fan / overhead light combo. Aside from that, all we have left is to decorate. We aren’t completely set on a “vision” that’s planned down to a T, but here’s what we have in mind so far…

Half Bathroom / 7thhouseontheleft.com

As I mentioned earlier, we already have the mirror and we’ve also purchased a few of these hand towels (I ordered 2, 1 for a back up and I’m more than kind of obsessed with them) as well as the soap dispenser. We picked out this wooden box to go on the back of the toilet (along with something else – we just aren’t sure what yet) because we like the “woodsy” vibe and think it would be a neat way to bring some rustic elements in as well as provide some small storage.

As you can see from the big question mark, we’re still trying to hunt down wall art – both for the wall to the right of the sink and the wall behind the toilet. For the wall to the right of the sink, I’ve been trying to design something, but I haven’t come up with the right design just yet. I really want to design something more on the modern side with a some colors that would tie in with the hand towel. As for the wall behind the toilet, we’re thinking maybe a grouping of artwork or one big piece – like maybe a stretched canvas or something. The jury is still out on that one.

So, yeah. That’s where we are and what we’re going to be working on over the next few weeks between all of the other projects we have going on. We’re looking forward to having the tiniest room in the house with a big ‘ole “Done!” seal on it.