Saturday, February 1, 2014

Picture This {Giveaway}

It took a while to find the perfect shade of grey for the downstairs of our home, but now that the painting is done, it was time to add some life to the walls in our living room. 

These floating shelves were a great deal from IKEA ($15 each) and the frames were equally a steal -- the 4x6 frames were only $1.99! Now bear with me, still working on getting some of our favorite photos printed to frame, but so far we've framed a photo of our honeymoon resort and one with friends at a Baylor football game. 

In the meantime, I was excited to add a wedding photo to the mix: a canvas from Easy Canvas Prints!


I was really pleased with the quality of the print. It's beautiful! The one I ordered is an 8"x10" canvas with a .75" border wrap.


When ordering, you have a few border options: image wrap, mirror wrap, or colored border wrap. The way this photo was cropped originally, I'd loose some of the image if I chose the first option, so I opted for the mirror wrap, as you can see below.



There are also two display options when ordering -- the standard hanger, which I received, or an easel back. If you want to mount the canvas directly on the wall or have it leaning on a narrow shelf like I have, the standard is what you want. Otherwise, the easel back is great if you want to display on a desk, in a bookcase or on your mantle.

One cool thing about Easy Canvas Prints is that you can link it directly to your Instagram account! Haven't tried that option out myself, but definitely will for future prints.



You know I love a good sale, so if you're ready to place your order, you're in luck. Enter the coupon code 50FREESHIP for 50% off all canvas prints + free shipping!



Aaaaand, Easy Canvas Prints is offering one free 8x10 canvas print to a lucky reader (free shipping, excluding Alaska/Hawaii). Good luck! Giveaway ends Friday, February 7.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Posted some "before" photos of our house a few weeks ago {here if you missed it}. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Home-ly Beginnings

The last two months of being homeowners have been an exciting, fun, humbling learning experience for us, and we're looking forward to this new year for our home improvement projects to really get rolling. 

It's no secret that I'm a huge Young House Love fan {remember the time I met them?} and other DIY blogs like Bower Power and House of Hepworths. I'm by no means aspiring to the same level of readership and success that these bloggers have achieved, but I thought this ol' blog would be a fun place to share our house projects with family and friends along the way. 

We have big dreams for this place, and we invite you inside to take a little tour of the "before." 

Here's the view from the front door! We love the openness of the first floor -- the formal dining room is to the right, flowing right into the living room. The gas fireplace was a huge plus too! We looked into building a new home in some surrounding neighborhoods, and a lot of builders aren't putting fireplaces in homes anymore. It was fun to have a mantel for decorating this Christmas!

Two steps up from the living room is a small landing at the bottom of the stairs that also leads into the kitchen and breakfast nook. The doorway between the dining and living area takes you to the garage, a coat closet, a powder room, and laundry room, and the kitchen is to the left off the hallway {you can see the side of the fridge in this photo}.


Looking back at the front door and dining room from the stairs... 


Hallway with laundry room, entrance to kitchen, powder room, coat closet and door to garage...



At first, we thought it was a weird set-up to have the stairs split off into the living area and kitchen, but it's really grown on us. 


We love to cook/bake, and we love our spacious kitchen! These cabinets are now WHITE -- blog recap of that project, coming soon. By the way, these photos were taken during our inspection, so the home was still set up "staged" {if you can call it that} with the kitchen rooster and the random jar of lemons.
 

This funky light fixture has been replaced -- it's now sitting in our garage waiting for a family to love it. Any takers? Just wasn't our style.


Master bedroom!



Next is the master bathroom. The shower is a little small for our liking, so our hope is to someday knock out the shelving in between it and the tub. We'll extend the shower to the same wall as the tub faucet, and hopefully do a half-wall with glass to let in natural light. This project will likely take some hefty plumbing work, so might be a waysssss off so we can save up some cash. And yes... that IS carpet in the master bathroom. I really really hate stepping out of the shower directly onto carpet, but it doesn't make much sense to put in tile right now when we have a bathroom remodel in the future. We'll likely tackle both at the same time.



We're so thankful for two sinks and separate vanities!



I love our giant closet too!



There are two additional bedrooms upstairs, with a guest bathroom to the left of this view. The bedroom on the right {front of the house} is our guest bedroom, and the bedroom on the left will serve as our office until it becomes a nursery when we start a family.



Lastly, here's a peak at the backyard. We love the big mature trees, as well as the extended concrete slab for our grill and some patio furniture to host friends and family.

That red brick patio "thing" will soon be gone. Doesn't look bad in this photo so much, but the shape of it makes NO sense and it looks like a terrible DIY job. When polled, friends have said it looks like either a mitten, the State of Texas, or a duck... the circle feature in the middle could make a fun fire pit, but our plan is to tear out all of the bricks and lay down sod. Need grass for dogs and kids someday!



And there you have it. We hosted a little "housewarming" party for New Year's Eve and it was so fun for our home to be used in a way that we always dreamed it would be -- for the door to always be open, for people to feel welcomed and celebrated, and to make memories with those closest to us.






Stay tuned for more projects!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Alex + Drew | Engagement Photography

I love love, and I love seeing my friends so happy. This beautiful girl is Alex, my college roommate and one of my best friends from high school. Drew popped the question at the end of October, and in June they'll become husband and wife!

Here are a few photos we snapped last month for their "save the dates." Congratulations to the future Dotys!









Monday, November 18, 2013

We Never Walk Alone

Closing on our home, packing and unpacking, trips to home improvement stores, tackling our first DIY project, all while having full-time jobs... safe to say we've been crazy busy the past few weeks, hence my absence from the blog.

Buying a house has been an exciting thing for us, but in the midst of it all we've been thrown a curve ball. We faced another big life event last week... finding out that my dad has prostate cancer. 

We've set up a Caring Bridge site for my dad to keep our friends and family in the loop, but I wanted to share today's journal entry that I wrote. We're filled with HOPE as we face this cancer fight with my dad. The doctor believes we caught it early. Prostate cancer is treatable and very slow growing. And we know that God is in control. Thank you for your prayers, friends!
_______________________________________________________

On behalf of the whole Molleur clan, let me start by saying thank you for your support as we begin to walk this cancer journey. We're so encouraged by your love and prayers!

Mom and Dad broke the news to us just one week ago, hours after they'd spoken to the doctor. Hearing that a loved one is facing a fight against cancer is scary and overwhelming, but at the same time, we know that the Lord is good, that this wasn't a surprise to Him, and that He is ultimately in control.

The days since finding out have been filled with an odd mixture of sadness, hope, thankfulness, fear, and peace. But if I'm honest, it wasn't until yesterday (Sunday) that things really became real.

The sermon was titled "How To Be Rich," looking at the verses of 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Our pastor (Chris) painted a beautiful picture of how Christians ought to approach wealth: not being conceited, but giving sacrificially to the church and using our resources to meet the needs of those around us. Bottom line: we can't put our faith in our finances.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1 Timothy 6:17-18

Chris talked about a "hope migration" that happens when you fully put your faith in the Lord. Instead of trusting in the security that a job, money, a house, or our 5- to 10-year plan can bring, our hope should only be in God, the one who loves us and who wants to meet our every need.

He had us repeat again and again, "I will not put my hope in riches, but in Him who richly provides."

Chris loves to use personal stories to really drive a message home, and today he chose to use my dad's cancer diagnosis as an example of these Biblical truths lived out.

He talked about my dad's role as an elder in the church, and how in recent talks with my dad, he'd heard all about his excitement and plans for retirement...

"Tony and I have been talking about his plans to leave Dell and finally retire and do what he really loves, which is photography. He was excited about that becoming a reality, and then he says '
oh wait, Dell's keeping me on for a little bit longer. Not really sure what this is about but I know God must have a reason.' And then I get a call from Tony this week, late Monday night, and he says, 'hey Chris, I've got some news. I have cancer.' And that news, when you're faced with something like cancer, it makes all of the savings and retirement plans worthless. THIS is where life becomes really really really serious. Tony can't put his hope in riches, but only in He who richly provides. He's the only one that can heal. He's the life giver! And that's why we put our hope in HIM, and NOT in this life." 


Hearing my dad's cancer talked about in front of so many people was a huge reality check. I squeezed Thomas' hand the whole time, fighting tears as Chris told our church family about the diagnosis and days ahead. And as the sermon came to a close, Chris invited everyone to gather around our family to pray.

Let me tell you, I won't ever forget that morning.

So many people laid hands on my dad, asking for healing, peace and comfort. The presence of God was so real to me in the moments that followed as I let the tears spill over. And as the prayers continued, the worship band began to play "Healer" (by Kari Jobe), and I just know that this song will be an anthem for my dad's fight against cancer.

You hold my very moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You, Lord I trust in You
I believe You're my healer
I believe You are all I need
Oh, I believe You're my portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus, You're all I need
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

 
Another song from the worship set that I'm choosing to cling to is Matt Redman's "Never Once." These lyrics are so rich with truth, that despite the uncertainty and scariness of cancer, or whatever life circumstance you face, that God promises to walk with us every step of the way. We will never ever walk alone, and for that we're so thankful. 


Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
 


In closing, church family -- THANK YOU for rallying around us on Sunday morning. We're so grateful for every one of you!

So, what's next?


Mom and Dad will meet with the doctor today (Monday afternoon) to discuss treatment options, and depending on what is discussed, whether second/third opinions are sought after, etc., one of us will post a journal update to keep you in the loop.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Big news!

The Reeds are officially homeowners!



Late yesterday afternoon, we closed on our new {to us} house. WE ARE SO EXCITED! Today begins a long weekend of packing and unpacking as we say goodbye to our cozy third-floor one-bedroom apartment.

Buying our first home has been an insanely stressful process, but hey, we're better because of it! Honestly, you think planning a wedding or combining finances as a newly married couple is stressful, but buying a house together is a whole other ball game.

Figuring out a realistic budget, sorting through home listings, talking through must-haves and "nice-to-haves" with our real estate agent, going to see properties in person, making an offer, countering back-and-forth until landing on the final sale price, holding our breath during the inspection, negotiating repairs and closing costs... it's been a doozy.

But through it all, we've strengthened our trust in the Lord, become more patient with one another, and gained a new sense of courage for stepping into the unknown. I'm so thankful to walk through life with a man who pushes me when I'm hesitant and reassures me when I'm anxious... because goodness knows buying a home has caused me alllllll sorts of anxiety. 

We've seen God work through our home-buying journey and know that He will use this home for HIS glory. To be in the same neighborhood as our church was a big priority for us so that we could truly be "in the community, for the community," and now we're so close we could walk to church on Sunday mornings, if we wanted to! We prayed for this house, for the Lord to take it away from us or slam the door shut in our faces if it wasn't His will, and we ultimately believe He's blessed this for us.



After our offer was accepted, the listing agent never put up a "sale pending" or "under contract" sign, which kind of bummed us out. I asked Thomas if we could swing by after church last Sunday to spend some time praying over the house, and when we turned onto our street, we both squealed when we saw that beautiful SOLD sign. And now it's ours!!

Can't wait to share photos of the house sometime soon! It's a two-story grey brick home with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It's pretty move-in ready, although we have a lengthy list of DIY and home improvement projects to make it ours. We intend on blogging the progress, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Layla | Newborn Photography


Sweet Layla Rose made her appearance more than a week past her due date, and just a few days later she was ready for her close-up! I took Jenn & Brandon's maternity photos back in August and had so much fun documenting their journey to parenthood. Now, can we talk about how cute Layla's purple nursery is?! J+B, thanks for inviting me into your home to photograph your little miss!





Monday, October 28, 2013

Celebrating Africa and a Baby!



Africa has a special place in my heart, so naturally I was excited when asked to contribute to a church baby shower by bringing Africa-shaped cookies. Didi and James will welcome baby Moses in just a few weeks, and sometime next year they'll be sent out from our church to be full-time missionaries in Tanzania. The cookies were a huge hit, and we're continually praying God's blessings over their growing family and ministry.

I actually looked into purchasing the cookies from one of my favorite local bakeries, but figured I'd save a little money by making them myself. So glad that I did -- this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe will be one I use for years to come!

"The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies" recipe {via allrecipes.com}
Glossy Royal Icing recipe {via allrecipes.com}
Africa cookie cutter {via Sole Hope or OneStarfishAtATime}

NOTES:
  • I made these on the Friday afternoon before the baby shower the next day, so I didn't have time to chill the dough as the recipe suggests. Turned out just fine! 
  • Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing, several hours if possible. Mine definitely weren't warm when I iced them, but had they had a few more hours to harden up, two or three broken cookies would have been spared being moved for decorating!
  • The royal icing tastes great and was very simple to make. Other royal icing recipes I've seen use egg whites or meringue powder, but this one just calls for water, corn syrup, almond extract and powdered sugar.