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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Round-Up

I love year-end round ups, so I thought I'd do one of our own little blog in 2011.  What a year it's been!

I started a BLOG!
Or, as Heather at Dooce calls it, my Internet Website Blog Thing.  In April, I hit "publish" on my very first post and then introduced our little ranch.  I had actually initiated the blog about a year prior, but never could decide on a name.  Finally, I had a stroke of genius thanks to John Mayer (a favorite of Mr. Great Indoors and mine) and decided on The Great Indoors.  Perfect!  We celebrated our second houseiversary in July, thanking our lucky stars that we decided to take the plunge into home ownership.  It's not without its difficulties, of course, but it certainly keeps us busy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

I'm taking a few weeks off to enjoy family time and the holiday season.  In the meantime, what are your plans for Christmas?  We have a ton of family, so our holidays are usually travel-filled.  Do you already have your decorations up?  Any lights up outside?  Here's one of our favorite area houses.  The folks who run the Bluelights house, as it's called, ask everyone who stops by to donate to Toys for Tots.  If you can believe it, there are 100,000 (mostly LED) lights on the house, lit from sundown to midnight every night.  Wonder if they ever get any sleep!

Bluelights this year (

We put up outdoor lights our first Christmas here, but since then haven't had the energy to do it again.  Certainly not as much energy as these folks have!  If you're ever in the area, definitely check out this house and remember to bring a toy to donate.   They mention on the website that donations are down this year, so Mr. GI and I plan to donate.

Thanks for reading this year!  It's been so much fun for me to have a creative outlet for our projects, and I'm happy to have a little audience.  :-)  Happy holidays, and see you again in 2012!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Merry Little Christmas, Part II

I showed you last week how we decked the front halls, so here's a little bit of the Christmas we have spread throughout the house.  I don't go too crazy (I hear there are some people who put a Christmas tree in every room!), but I like to have little reminders of the holidays no matter which room I'm in.

I love this sparkly golden tree sitting on our bar.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Merry Little Christmas, Part I

I should admit at the outset that I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS.  The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day is by far my favorite time of year because just about everyone gets on board with the holiday spirit.  Decorations pop up everywhere, whether it's snowflakes, Santas, nativity scenes, or menorahs.  I seriously can't get enough of it.  There are plenty of other holidays in the year (Mr. Great Indoors' favorite is Halloween), but there's no other time of the year as unified as this one. There's a happy vibe around, perfect strangers greeting each other with "Happy Holidays," and holiday music on the radio.  How can you NOT love that?!  (However, I am of the opinion that the Christmas season doesn't officially start until Santa comes through the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.... so it irritates me a little bit when I walk into a store BEFORE HALLOWEEN and hear Christmas music.  But to each his own.)

All that said, it shouldn't be surprising that at the first chance I got I slapped up our Christmas decorations.  Mr. GI and I got back from Thanksgiving on Saturday afternoon, and by the time it got dark I was hauling our red and green totes out of the attic.  Accompanied by "It's a Wonderful Life" on the TV (does anybody else miss that movie coming on directly after the T-Day parade?  silly dog show...), I had 98% of the decorations up by the time Mr. Great Indoors came out of hiding by bedtime.  Here's a peek at Christmas in the Great Indoors this year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful for the little life Mr. Great Indoors and I have made together.  What are you thankful for this year?

Fuzzy picture via my mobile phone

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Falling for Fall

We've been enjoying in Georgia what seems like a much longer fall season than normal.  The temperatures have been a pretty steady 60 during the day with chillier temps at night (we had our first frost last week), and every day for the past few weeks has been absolutely beautiful.  I'm not sure what the difference is, but our fall leaves have been even brighter and lasted even longer this year than in recent memory.  Mr. Great Indoors and I had a chance to walk around a local park at lunch this week to admire all the fall foliage.  Beautiful.

Trying out some settings on my camera phone:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Love Story + Design*Sponge Book Signing!

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this post on Design*Sponge a few weeks ago.

I knew D*S was coming to Atlanta, but I never dreamed they would come so close to us!  Mr. Great Indoors and I live awfully close to Athens, so I immediately signed us both up for this book tour event.  It just so happened that the book signing coincided with our very first date ten years ago.  So I figured this post would be a good time to tell you a little bit about how the Great Indoors family came to be.

Friday, November 4, 2011

DIY Week: The Goldilocks Bags

I'm sure you all have at least one camp chair.  And I'm sure each of those camp chairs has a POS bag that ripped the first time you put the chair back in it.  Here's how ours looked at the beginning of this project, including one huge rip at the bottom of one of the bags.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY Week: Fall Bunting

I was itching to make something festive that would last the entire fall season.  I've seen so many fun buntings around the interwebs recently.  The one that got my attention first, of course, was from Young House Love's bunting for Clara's first birthday.  (Hilarious post title, by the way, and one of my favorite "okay, we're human, too" posts from YHL.)

My only stipulation for this craft was that I couldn't spend a dime on it.  I knew I wanted it to be fall-colored, so I set out in search of fall colored fabrics already in the house.  I ended up with a t-shirt of mine (purple), two old t-shirts of Mr. Great Indoor's (tan and orange), and a few pieces of fabric my mom gave me a while ago (red and yellow).  And the strip at the top was canvas used for the camp bags I'm posting about tomorrow.  Forgive the flash, but it was the only way to capture the true-to-life colors of the fabrics.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DIY Week and Pinterest Challenge: Paint Chip Art

If you're stopping by from Bower Power or Young House Love, welcome!  Take a look around The Great Indoors.  We're in the midst of DIY week!

It's that time again!  Thanks to Katie and Sherry, this season's Pinterest Challenge kicked me into gear and got me to finally publish all of my DIY week posts (some of those projects have been in the hopper for a while... oops).  If you still haven't heard of Pinterest, here's my last Pinterest Challenge post to fill you in.  Follow me with that cute red button at the top of the page!  (Or just click here, although the button is more fun...)

This time around, I decided to finally do something about the paint chip ideas I'd had stirring in my head.  (No pun intended...)  I've included both the original source and my pins for each of the ideas I considered, just in case you want to do some research and/or pinning of your own!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DIY Week: A (Basically) Free Wine Rack

Mr. Great Indoors built us a wine rack within a month of moving into the house.  He didn't have a lot of tools at that point, so he didn't build it to be very complicated. Here's a picture of the old rack from the day of our housewarming party a few years ago.  Boy, don't things look different!  Unpainted cabinets, old sliding glass door, old dishwasher... we don't really miss any of those things these days.

Monday, October 31, 2011

DIY Week: Spookifying Our House

I don't go all out for Halloween, mostly because I'd rather decorate for a season rather than one day.  But I wanted to introduce a little of the day into our house.  So I let out some bats in our living room.  

First I grabbed some black construction paper and white chalk.  I got some rough inspiration from Google images and sketched away.

DIY Week!

I've had a few craft projects up my sleeve that I haven't had time to blog about, so I thought I'd post about all of them this week!  Hold on to your horses, folks!

Monday:  Spookifying Our House

Tuesday:  A (Basically) Free Wine Rack

Wednesday:  Pinterest Challenge:  Paint Chip Art

Thursday:  Fall Bunting

Friday:  The Goldilocks Camp Chair Bags

So stick around for all the fun this week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Making of a Bookcase

Our dining room bookcase had gotten overrun with things, stuffed with books and odds and ends (some decorative, others just junk).  It was time for a makeover.  I didn't take a true before picture, but here's some of the stuff that came out of the bookcase.  There was more on the floor and in the chairs.  What a mess.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Correcting the French Mistake

If you understand the title of this post, you either know me really well or you (like me) have seen Blazing Saddles a million times.  Or both.

This is the continued story of our &!@#$% patio door.  I wrote about our latest mishap here.  About two weeks after we ordered it, our glass arrived at Home Depot.  So Mr. Great Indoors and our handy friend, who you'll recognize from our last door installment, took some time out of their Sunday to install it.  (P.S.  Thanks to my friend H for taking pictures of this process while I was at work over the weekend!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our Fall Garden... or Lack Thereof

Our garden this summer was awesome.  It produced as much as we could eat on a weekly basis, but no more (unlike the okra in our garden the first year... literally coming out of our ears for weeks).  We finally had yellow zucchini and squash, which didn't come up at all in our first year of gardening.  Our compost experiment seemed to work out for the better, with all of our plants responding quicker and with more fruit than last year.  Like I said:  awesome.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You'll Never Guess...

Maybe this is a familiar story to some of you:  "So Mr. Great Indoors was mowing the yard this afternoon, when..."

Oh, yeah.  Just our luck, Mr. GI had just started up the mower last week over at the shed when it kicked out a rock that traveled UNDERNEATH OUR PATIO TABLE to hit our BRAND NEW PATIO DOOR.  Sorry for the caps/yelling, but I still can't believe this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Decorating for Fall

At the beginning of each season, I shake things up around our house. Most of our decor stays the same from season to season (like the bookcase in our living room or the set-up in our bedroom), but I love switching our bookshelves and the entryway chalkboard. I try to do things a little differently every season, which is tough when I'm working on limited funds.  It forces me to be creative, that's for sure!

Here's the bookshelves on our living room wall (to the left of the kitchen).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DIY Plastic Bag Organizers

As you saw in my last post about organizing the skeletons in our closets, I DIY'd plastic bag organizers to hold all of our plastic grocery bags.  Here's a refresher of what that grocery bag situation looked like before.  Yuck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Skeletons in our Closets

I had gotten sick of our closets being disheveled; I felt like I was being ambushed every time I opened our pantry door.  We had a few problems to tackle:  
  • The cleaning supplies (mop, broom, vacuum) had been in the Man Cave closet since we moved in and didn't quite fit there anymore (well, actually ever).  I tried to move them to our pantry, but they fell over every time I opened the door.
  • Our collection of plastic and reusable shopping bags made it difficult to close our pantry door.
  • Our tailgating supplies, which stay in the shed in the off-season, needed to be easily accessible for football season.
I started with the pantry, since it was the most offensive of the closets.  Here's how it looked to start.  There's the mop and broom that made an appearance every time the door was open.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's the story, Morning Glory?

The weather has cooled down a little in the past few weeks, especially during the evenings.  By a little, I mean we're out of the 90s and into the upper 80s during the day-- but the evening temperatures have gone from the 80s to the 50s.  And with those cooler temperatures, our morning glory has come out in full force.  It's been so beautiful to see.

Here's a reminder about how Ms. Morning Glory started out.  We wanted something to cover up our brand new pergola, so we chose the medium-growth Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue.' 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preparing for Emergencies

In honor of National Preparedness Month and after the past few weeks of tropical storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes on the east coast, I thought it was an appropriate time to talk a little bit about how you can prepare for a weather disaster in your own house.  Part of my full-time job is emergency preparedness (I'm responsible for creating the emergency plans in our buildings and for carrying out those plans in the event of an emergency), but I am by no means an expert (check out NOAA,, the American Red Cross, or The Weather Channel for comprehensive information).  Here are some of the things I've learned about preparing for severe weather.

Image here

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sticking It Out

Image here

I thought I'd pop in to let you know my post schedule is changing slightly.  I've been aiming the past few months to post every Tuesday and Thursday (some weeks that worked out better than others).  But since my job revolves around school calendars, my work schedule is in full swing.  I work a ton of nights and weekends, so any time at home is spent either having quality time with Mr. Great Indoors or doing laundry/cleaning/you name it.  So from now until I get a little break, I'll just be posting once a week each Tuesday.  Hopefully that means more thought-out content than it would be if I were hurriedly posting twice a week.  Thanks for "sticking" with me.  (Get it?  Post-Its? ...)

Do you have a crazy work schedule at any point during the year?  Any fun plans for Labor Day this weekend?  The only way I can recall which holiday begins and ends the summer is to remember that my birthday is in September... so my mom labored with me in the month of Labor Day.  :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Door Project of 2011: Part 2

Come to think it of, this isn't part two-- it's more like part four.  First we changed the locks on the front and side doors, then a pesky piece of pea gravel shattered our sliding glass door and we replaced it with a French door, then I painted the jambs, but that wasn't good enough so now we're on to the painting of the front and side doors.  Whew!

When I last left you, I had been pondering a paint color for the doors. I decided on Fabulous Red (Valspar 1011-2), partially because it looked so good with our orangey-reddish brick, but also because Mr. Great Indoors put his vote in for that color and I couldn't help but agree.  And come on-- it's Faaaaaaabulous.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Door Project of 2011: Part 1

That's right-- I knew as soon as we painted the French doors on the back of the house that our disgusting front and side doors just wouldn't cut it.  Here's a refresher of the side door grossness, taken when we changed the locks:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Natural Lawn Mowers

The place where I work has been trying to go green, constructing new buildings that meet LEED standards, using green cleaning products, and upping their recycling efforts.  In addition to these things, they also introduced a small sheep herd to take care of an invasive plant species along a potential Greenway extension.  Thirty sheep and two donkeys are unleashed every few months to eat away at the Chinese privet that has grown up in a particular spot. The donkeys especially are precious and friendly; they stand very patiently to be petted (pet?), but the sheep usually keep their distance and are hard to get good photos of.  (Yes, that sign does say "electric fence," but I still stuck my arms over to pet the donkeys.  Dare devil, I know.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

French Door: Finished!

We are looooving our French Door, especially now that we've finished it all up.

I took a few days to paint the trim inside and out, and boy did it make a difference.  First I sanded the threshold with a rough then smooth sandpaper (forgot which numbers), then put on two coats of black outdoor paint.  The white trim around the sides took three coats.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One last stop around the house: The DIY bike rack

I realized when posting the French door how-to that I forgot to show my four faithful readers one corner of our house:  the bike rack!

Mr. Great Indoors and I started biking together about a year and a half ago after he had an accident running (darn ankles).  He bought a bike off Craigslist and we started riding together shortly thereafter.  It's an awesome hobby because we can spend time together but still get exercise.  And because both of us have bad knees, it's a lot kinder to our bodies than running ever was.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fall Garden and Garden Journaling

The summer garden was starting to look pretty bad-- we ripped out the squash a few weeks ago, then took out the corn and cukes this weekend.  It was definitely a little naked (although our tomatoes and basil are going strong!).  So  Mr. Great Indoors and I paid a visit to Lowe's to pick out our fall garden.  Last year we didn't plan ahead quite enough to make this happen, but I read a few weeks ago (in Better Homes and Gardens, maybe?) that July/August is the time to start thinking about fall crops. Let me tell you, it's hard to think about anything fall-related when we've been having 100° plus temperatures every day for weeks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Princess and the Pea (Gravel)

Warning:  this is an incredibly long post, but there's a ton to cover.  If you're interested, all the product links are at the very bottom of the page with the price breakdown.  No princesses were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Who can guess what these two things have in common?

The Pinterest Challenge

Two of my favorite ladies, Katie of Bower Power and Sherry of Young House Love, decided to team up to pick one project per season from their Pinterest boards and create it.  Instead of, you know, pinning a bajillion images and never doing squat with them.  Here's Katie's post about the project and here's Sherry's.

{If you haven't heard of Pinterest, check out their About page.  And request to join ASAP.  Aaaand you can follow me with that cute little red button at the top of the page}

I thought it would be fun to participate in the link love, so I combed through my pins to find a project that I already had the materials for.  I narrowed it down to four options at first:  this cork garden marker, these cork drink coasters (remember what I said about us being alcoholics entertainers?  We drink lots of vino), these zucchini chips, or these melted crayon shapes.  Tough choices!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Great Indoors Granola

I've got a thing for yogurt, and I especially love yogurt with a little crunch.  About two years ago I started making my own granola, and I've never looked back.  The recipe I've included here is one that I've perfected over the past few months.  Hope you enjoy!

You'll need:
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 C old-fashioned oats
1/2 C raisins
2T brown sugar
1T honey
1T chocolate chips (I use semisweet)
2T Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Locked and Loaded

Isn’t it great when a calm, relaxing weekend actually results in something productive?  Mr. Great Indoors and I had one of those this past weekend.  Time with friends and a good bike ride on Saturday, and then some house-related retail therapy on Sunday.

Our project this weekend was to replace the locks on our side and front doors.  I'd been having issues the past few weeks with my key (it wasn't catching the lock, so I had to stand in front of the door for five minutes every time jiggling it... annoying).  We were also not quite sure when the locks were replaced last and didn't really relish the idea of any former tenants attempting their old keys.  So we finally bit the bullet and set off to get new locks.  Unfortunately, the Lowe's right down the road didn't have many interesting locks in our price range (like this one... blah), and off we went to the Home Depot across town.  They had a slightly different selection, and we ended up deciding on a set by Defiant in Satin Nickel that came with two deadbolts, two handles, and four keys (unfortunately, I couldn't find the same product online).  Perfect for our front and side doors!  In addition to the lock set, we also bought a can of Rustoleum Satin Nickel to match the door guard to our fancy nickel knobs.  More about that in a minute.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hosting an Awesome Party

We entertain on a regular basis by rotating weekly dinners with a group of close friends.  But there's nothing like having a party, and you can pick whatever occasion you like.  We've had two housewarming parties (one at our current house, and one at our old apartment), a New Year's celebration, an engagement party, a bridal shower, a few birthday parties, a fish fry, and even a pumpkin carving party.  And trust me when I say we'll be throwing many more parties in our lives.  So here are a few of my tips for throwing a good one.

Invite some people!
I've tried a few different forms of inviting, and I've found that the handiest is Evite.  Such cute invitations and incredibly customizable.  You can have people RSVP online (either by sending them an email or a Facebook message) and even sign up to bring things!

One of my favorite Evite invitations.  You can find the template here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Impromptu Trip to Savannah

Mr. Great Indoors had a little business in Savannah last week, so I tagged along and took a short walking tour through downtown.  Like most of the rest of the U.S. last week, Savannah was pretty hot and super humid.  Normally I'm not a wimp about heat (I have lived in Georgia my entire life, after all), but I was literally melting; my camera even refused to work the second day we were there (air conditioning + super duper humidity = foggy lens).  Nonetheless, the heat didn't make the architecture any less swoonworthy.

Independent Presbyterian Church on Bull Street

Bike parking on the street!  Don't see that very often.  Between the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) students and the regular commuters, there were a ton of bike racks and a ton of bikers!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Okay, so I totally made up that post title.  But what it means is that this past Sunday we celebrated our second anniversary of closing on the house!  I can't believe it's already been two years since we signed our lives away mounds of paperwork and Mr. Great Indoors carried me across the threshold.

Mr. GI's first official act as a homeowner was to rip down the vertical blinds in the dining room.  They were janky and gross (with floral imprints... whoa '80s).

We brought with us our very first moving box, which Mr. GI proudly carried in the side door.

We used the very same box that evening as a dinner table to  enjoy an Arby's picnic on the floor of the living room.  Just because we could.

A week later, we had tons of help from family and friends to move us from our apartment to the new digs.  The ride was only 2.5 miles, thank goodness, because we moved at least two loads in our rental truck, and lots of smaller stuff in people's cars.  Somehow I didn't get any pictures of the move, but imagine a lot of very sweaty people (it was definitely July in Georgia).  At the end of the day we made burgers for all our movers and cracked open a few beers to celebrate a successful move.

And at the end of August, we crammed 30 people in our house hosted a housewarming party.  This was the first of many parties to be held in our little place, and thankfully we've had great weather for all of them.  I'll be posting next week about how to host an awesome party.  I hear that ours are pretty fun.  :-)