DIY Wedding Mason Jar Mugs


Looking back on your wedding, did you have just one project that now looking back you say, “What on earth was I thinking?!  How did nobody tell me I was totally insane?”  Well, I certainly do.  And I’m certain my friends and family just knew that I wouldn’t let down from this idea, so they graciously rolled with it.  Although I still hold to this day that I loved the labor of love I did for these and was so happy with how they turned out.

So, while wedding planning, I was obsessed with idea of these personalized mason jar mugs as favors, but buying them off The


BUT, it appeared to be a painful investment between the cost per mug and don’t let that fool you, make sure you check out the shipping cost too.  Here is what mine looked like:

The Knot Custom Mason Jar Mugs:
Qty needed: 228
Shipping:  $186.89
Total Cost: $789.61
Price per mug:  $3.46 (Total cost (including shipping) / qty)

*Note, this pricing above was when I was planning my wedding in 2013.  Now looking at the link to the Knot, the prices seem even higher! 

Yeah, almost $800 in mason jar mugs for giveaways just wasn’t in our budget.  But don’t you fear, DIY-budget savvy brides, where there is a will (and a BRIDE’s will at that), there is a WAY!

I started researching and found some tutorials on glass etching.  You simply have a stencil/template and buy etching cream from your local craft store (like Michaels), brush it on (I really liked these brushes), let it sit, and wash it off- then bam!  The glass is etched.  Seemed pretty straight-forward.

I took our wedding logo of the “M&M” and the silhouette of our venue barn (that our amazing graphic designer created for us!) and using my sister’s Silhouette Portrait machine, I cut it out onto clear sticker project paper.  Then, I tested it by sticking it onto a mason jar and etching it- success! DIY-Mason-Jar-Mugs_3

Now, that I knew this crazy idea was possible, the next goal was to find where I could purchase blank mason jar mugs to hand etch each 180-some mugs for every guest (#crazybride).  Upon my crazy searching, I came across Fillmore Container in Lancaster, PA (note, I am located in Minnesota).  I emailed them and found not only the blank mason jar mugs at a great price, but also, these adorable daisy lids so straws could go in them (swoon!  How cute!).  Here is how my Fillmore order came out:

Fillmore Container Blank Mason Jar Mugs:
Qty needed: 228 (19 cases of 12)
Shipping:  $141.84
Daisy Lids (100): $28
Total Cost: $351.86
Price per mug:  $1.54 (Total cost (including shipping) / qty)

Cost Savings Compared to The Knot:  $437.75

Well, if you save nearly $500 then I applaud you (as I did myself at the time).  So yes, I ordered 19 cases of blank mugs from Pennsylvania that were all delivered to my tiny 700 sq ft house (insert ridiculous look/laugh here).  It was pretty comical.  They took up my entire kitchen.  Now, of course, the work had just begun.  It’s safe to say for DIY brides, your time is worth nothing.  It’s just true.  If I would look at how many hours I hand etched each 180-some mugs for my guests, I’m sure the $500 savings wouldn’t be worth it, but to us DIY-budget savvy brides, umm yes, it was worth it.

The next few months were a blur (and can pretty much be summarized in the behind the scenes photos below, Lewis loving the boxes filled with packing peanuts that the mugs came in and helping to etch, lots of late night slap-happy etching parties).

Etching the Mugs – The Basic Process:
1.  Cut out stencils of wedding logo from the Silhouette machine (note, you could only use one sticker stencil on one mug, then it had to be thrown away)

2.  Stick them on the mason jar mugs

3.  Using etching cream, etch over each stencil, letting the etching cream sit for 5 minutes (you can see below, I used post-it notes by the mugs where I would write the time + 5 minutes so I could keep working ahead and do multiple at a time)



As one of my prize-DIY projects from the wedding, I wanted these babies to double as my escort “cards” for people, and also label the mugs so people could use them throughout the night and keep track of their drinks. So I had to come up with 2 things:

  1. How/where to put individual names
  2. How/where to put the assigned table names

Here is what I came up with:

Guest Names
For the names, I purchased these key tags they were pretty inexpensive for how many you got in a pack.  Then, I created a template on my computer using a few of my wedding patterns, and typed in each guests name.  I then printed them on white sticker paper (note, not the clear kind like before, the “white”) and cut them out with a 1″ circle puncher to fit perfectly into the key tags.  This was a tedious process, but you can fit a lot of circles on one page, so it really wasn’t that bad.  I also loved that I used my wedding font and pattern to make it tie into the rest of the pieces at the wedding.  (I made tags for Matt & I to use that just said “Mr Kiesow” and “Mrs Kiesow”)- which was pretty cute too).


I then tied this mint green jute twine cording around the mouth of the mason jar mug and slipped the key ring onto it to connect it to the mug, securing it with a knot and bow.


Table Assignments
Our table numbers were constellations, as Matt and I met in astronomy class (more about table names here).  So to tie into that, I decided to use rock candy.  I purchased rock candy in various colors in bulk (from here), and then made flags using scrapbook paper (in my wedding colors).  I made the table names on my computer with my wedding font and printed them on clear sticker paper so I could easily transfer them onto the pretty scrapbook paper.  Finally, I attached the flags to the rock candy, which were placed upside down in the mason jar mugs for guests to find their seats.  (As you can see, the kiddies really loved the candy too :)


I even made a cute little poem which I had printed to poster-size at Walgreens (no, I did NOT really chalkboard write that well!!) to fit into my amazing gold frame to communicate to guests what these (amazing) mason jars were all about:


After all that work, I am so happy to report that our guests loved the mugs and used them throughout the WHOLE night at our wedding.  We even had guests (ok, mostly girls) getting fancy by mixing the Angry Orchard hard cider we had on tap with red wine for a Sangria type mix and using the tops and straws- love!

Was this project a labor of love?  Yes.  Did the mugs mean so much more to me after putting hours of work into them and making them exactly what I wanted vs. just paying $800 for something non-custom: YES.  So there you have it!  I hope you fellow-DIY brides can use this and be sure to let me know if you try this yourself!  (I would love to hear from a fellow crazy DIY-bride like I was) :)

Cheers! (Literally!)

*Oh, and DIY brides, be sure to think about the things that you put SO much work into for your wedding and get some photos with them to commemorate all your hard work! Your photographer will be so appreciative since they don’t know about all the work leading up to the big day!
*Weddings photo credit throughout to Erin Jean Photography

DIY-Mason-Jar-Mugs_10 DIY-Mason-Jar-Mugs_4DIY-Mason-Jar-Mugs_7 DIY-Mason-Jar-Mugs_6

The Big Announcement – We’re Pregnant!

Matt & I are SO SO excited to share that we are expecting a baby this September!  For someone who is so terrible at lying, this secret was SO difficult to keep for 3 months, but we couldn’t be more excited to finally share our news! :)

How Far Along:  I am currently 12.5 weeks and feeling pretty good!  Our due date is September 23rd.  I was of course feeling nauseous in the beginning, but that has definitely improved.  More than anything, I feel like I am super tired all the time (which is very out of the ordinary for a night owl like me).

Size Of Baby: Baby is as big as a plum (in a few days, we move up to a peach)

Cravings:  Nothing too crazy (yet). Tending to be drawn to salty food and carbs – random cravings have included: cheesy bread and marinara sauce and even more randomly: Subway.  I expect these will continue to change as time goes on.

Anti-Cravings:  This is insane you guys, coffee sounds terrible to me   I know!  Crazy!

I’m excited to share more baby projects in the upcoming months, along with the gender reveal that we will find out in early May (We cannot wait to find out! The planner in me just can’t go with a surprise, I just have to know!).  In the meantime, Matt will be stepping in as my spray painter/painter for other projects since I am out of commission in that category.

So what do you guys think!? Boy? Girl? (No twins, we have confirmed there is ONE baby in there :) Matt and I are both guessing boy, but time will tell!!


Painting Wood Paneling


It’s been awhile since a house project update – don’t think it hasn’t been on our mind (trust me), but we are excited to start our kitchen plan!

Now let me preface with a tough decision we had when it came to our kitchen update plans.  We figured there were 2 routes we could go:

1) Gut + Brand New

We did go through the research process of drawing up a kitchen plan, meeting with the Menards kitchen designer and getting quoted for custom cabinetry (ouch for pricing).  Menards came in around $8K for cabinets alone (not counting countertops, hardware, etc.)  We found a discount cabinet supply store that had pretty good pricing on cabinets, but again being in the thousands for cabinets alone, then taking into account the incremental costs associated with the flooring, countertops, etc. – it just seemed like a lot at this point in our lives.

2) Facelift

Matt has always had his reservations about facelifts (home decor cosmetic facelifts that is, I am opposed to human facelifts too :).  I understand his concerns.  To put money into an “interim solution”, but when we plan and think we are probably going to live with our current kitchen footprint for the next 5-ish years, it is well worth the investment to spruce up what you have with some budget friendly updates.

So, facelift it is!

One thing I have hated in our house since we bought it is the excessive amount of orange-toned wood, including this beautiful paneling we have.  The paneling is along this wall (the chalkboard wall), the sliding door wall (which does really have much wall), in our entry way, and then down the hallway to our bedrooms/bathroom.  So some, but not everywhere.  It isn’t in our living room at all (whew).


Rather than ripping it off and revealing a bunch of destroyed drywall we have to replace, I’d like to paint it.  The question has now become – what color to paint it?!  Initially of course I was thinking a white/cream color.  But our kitchen plans are starting to involve some “bold color” (OMG are you guys excited?!  I sure am. Can’t wait to share :)

Anywho, so I’m leaning toward keeping our walls white and maybe going with painted gray paneling. I am drawn to the gray from this inspiration photo, I just love the clean white walls with the contrasting gray.

photo credit

Here is the mockup of this little corner of our kitchen with the gray paneling:

Plus the white is leaning a little too ‘country’ for my taste, while I feel like the gray is different.

What do you think?!  I seriously need opinions as I am totally torn over this one…



Welcome to CMCD’s New Look & Feel! (+ 100th Blog Post!)

I know what you are thinking, “Am I lost?” No no you are not!  CMCD has undergone an amazing (& much needed) rebrand and facelift, both from an aesthetic side as well as content management so I can continue to improve the user experience for all my valuable readers (cough-cough, yes you amazing people). Yay!  Don’t worry, the same great (and even more) lifestyle blog content spanning across so many different categories will continue on.

Now, my designer friends, please don’t judge :) I am not a designer, but had so much fun from putting my new brand and site together.  I drew inspiration from my original purple, but sophisticated the palette and brought in elements from watercolor/calligraphy (a new-found obsession of mine), our wedding, and organic elements.

I hope you like it as much as I do! :)


AND, like seriously you guys I did not plan this i swear, this is my 100th blog post ever!  Aww so special and such perfect timing with the rollout of the new blog look.



Wedding Table Numbers | Unique & “Totally You Guys”

When planning a wedding, there are SO many details.  Now, let’s be clear, none of these details will trump the most important part of the day (you know, that guy or gal you are marrying and vowing to spend the rest of your life with, yeah that’s the MOST important part).  But, if you are a detail freak, type A person like me, don’t act like you haven’t hem and hawed over something as simple as your table numbers.  Here are my thoughts on customizing your table numbers for this small detail of your BIG day (oh, and they are super budget-friendly too!)

Biggest Tip:  Make It About YOU GUYS

Your wedding day is all about you guys’ as a couple.  The reasons that you are perfect for each other and the story of what has brought you to this very moment and decision to spend the rest of your lives together.  What do you like to do together?  How did you meet?  Here are two of my favorite (ok, I’m bias) examples from my own wedding as well as my sister’s wedding:


How You Met | {My Wedding}
Matt & I met in Astronomy class my freshman (his sophomore) year of college.  So, in a very cute (and ok maybe semi-cheesy way), we rolled with an “Astronomy” theme for our table numbers, naming each table a constellation.  While I for sure couldn’t pronounce half the names, we included a little summary of how we met as well as a little “fun fact” about the constellation for our guests to read.  We also added our logo featuring a silhouette of The Enchanted Barn with the constellation above it for an added touch of personalization.



I used these white iKea Tolsby Frames that run $0.99 each (ch-ya!).  Then I simply had our graphic designer create each table number as a 2-sided 4×6 to fit the frames.  Simple + chic. Check!


What You Like To Do Together | {My Sister’s Wedding}
Adrian & Jeff are passionate foodies (they are always my first call for a restaurant recommendation or a “what is this strange ingredient in this recipe”).  They know the Minneapolis-area food scene like the back of their hand. So, for their wedding, they chose to name their tables as their FAVORITE local hidden gem restaurants.  They included a little summary of each restaurant for their guests to read at the table & it tied in perfectly- it was just so “them”.



Photo credit:  Nicolas Norbert Photography & Erin Jean Photography

We DIY-ed these table numbers with a simple “table tent” style with scrapbook paper and maintaining the same consistent fonts from the rest of the wedding invites, programs, etc.  The guest’s escort cards were (of course) with the coordinating scrapbook paper as their appropriate table (I mean ‘restaurant’). Oh how the organization & detailed coordination makes my heart sing! (

While I love a classic numeric table number, why not change it up and let your table names say a little more about you as a couple?!  Your guests (many of which may not know your new spouse as well as your closest friends) will love the little insider they get into a slice of you as a couple.

**Special shout-out to the AH-MAZING designer that did all the design work for both my own and my sister’s wedding – the talented Amy Stemper of Ash & Oke.  If you are in the market for a graphic designer, check her out.  Her work will make your wedding cohesive, gorgeous, and reflective of your own individual style!



2015 | The Year Of Big Changes


As I write this post I can hardly hold back my feelings from gushing everywhere all over your screen as I begin to unveil what 2015 holds for me and the changes I am going to make. Words to describe it include: excited, terrified, eager, scared, enthusiastic, optimistic, and – ready.

If you remember, about 6 months ago I made a career move transitioning from a large Fortune 1,000 company to a small agency with less than 20 people (flashback here).  It seemed like time to see “what else was out there” and move on from my first job out of college. Career-wise, my role shifted from marketing/branding focused into an account management, digitally-focused position.  I have learned a lot about both large and small companies, the past few months have shown me that it is time to do something very different, something else, to find balance, and, to try.

Try to take time to focus on my own small business endeavors, my crazy entrepreneurial ideas (yes, including those that I wake up in the middle of the night and write down in the notebook on my nightstand), and just see. See what happens because you only have one life to live, and if I wake up everyday and love what I am doing, I consider that a win. I just can’t turn off the passionate person I am, it is just simply that- it’s who I am. I urge for creativity, freedom, strategy, trial and error of my own accord.  I am proud of what I have created thus far, but so excited to see what more I can do to grow.

That being said, here is a look at the Big Changes of 2015!



I am makin’ (another) Corporate Dress Change, and actually going back to Corporate.  I am bouncing BACK to my Fortune 1000 company that holds a special place in my heart and was my home for 4+ years. I will be working in a different department rather than Marketing, working in the Merchandising team planning Education and Events.  I get to work with a new team of more amazing people of whom I’ve already had the pleasure of working with on a project-by-project basis when I was there before. In addition to a whole new department/team, another big change is that I am going back part-time.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay in the industry in which I love, working with such great people, and was so humbled when the opportunity arose and I heard how highly I was thought of as a candidate/previous employee.

I am so excited for the flexibility of my schedule so I can work on the strategy of my businesses and strive for a new type of balance between career, personal, and entrepreneurial goals.


Photographs by Mallory Jo

As most of you know from Facebook, I have started to pursue and grow my photography business beyond my standard friends and family clientele.  I got my website up and running in September and have had a great start doing family, newborn, engagement, and maternity sessions all over the place! I’m loving the variety and growth and want to shout out a big ‘thank you’ for all the support. Whether you’ve liked a photo, visited the website or Facebook page, or referred a friend, you guys are seriously the best cheerleaders ever (bold statement, coming from a former cheerleader).

While I’m loving what my photography business has brought thus far, I am a firm believer in learning.  I certainly don’t claim to be an expert and I am definitely learning as I go.  One thing that I crazy love about this industry is the passion and morale and sense of community that photography has.  It has already been such a supportive and amazing industry to follow and break into!  Speaking of which, in 2015 I have the INCREDIBLE opportunity to intern for an established wedding photographer Hannah Schmitt Photography.  I will be working with Hannah and interning/second shooting about 9 weddings this year. Ah! So excited.  I’ve been wanting to break into the wedding industry SO much (I actually did book my first wedding this coming May!), and I am so eager to learn the ins and outs and gain hands on wedding experience (and portfolio) with a wedding photography pro.  More info about this awesome opportunity to come. :)

*All photo portraits of me in this post are credited to Hannah Schmitt Photography.



Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Don’t worry, I (as in CMCD) isn’t going anywhere. :) IN FACT, I’ve been planning a complete overhaul of the website and brand look, so excited to share once it’s up and running to deliver a better blog experience for my awesome following (cough-you guys-cough).  I’m excited to work on a better schedule/cadence of posting and really dig deep to make Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress a fully functioning Lifestyle blog with LOTS of different topics. Can you sense the excitement?  I sure can!



Mint to Be Vintage Rentals

After planning and DIY-ing my wedding back in July 2013, I accumulated a boatload of event decor treasures.  Rather then these things collecting dust in my basement, I’m in the process of launching a full-out Vintage Rental and Styling company for any and all wedding/event decor needs!  I want to help make others visions come to life with the help of my eclectic inventory of items styled into beautiful schemes that are sure to be swoon-worthy.  The website is in process as we speak and when it is up, I mean, it’s gonna be fab (I even “leaked” a tiny preview below-gasp!).  Make sure to keep up with Mint to Be Vintage Rentals via the Facebook page for more information and to be the first to know when the website is up and running!


So as you can see, lots going on and lots of new & exciting changes in 2015 – I can’t wait to make this year the BEST year yet for all these endeavors! I’m out on a mission to strike a balance I’ve never had.  A balance between corporate work life and my own dreams – hang on tight everyone, it’s going to be a thrilling ride!  Let’s cheers to 2015!

Per the photo, I think this is an appropriate time to gaze off into the distance at all the fabulous things to come :)


Christmas Gift Exchange Idea: My Favorite Things

Are you tired of the same boring Christmas gift exchange? Or does Christmas roll around and everyone says to themselves, “I don’t really want or need anything!”. Well, that was pretty much the place my family was at.  Christmas gift exchanging had lost its appeal, and in a large family, we didn’t want to have everyone buy everyone a gift (holy gift overload that would be).

My sister heard this amazing idea from a friend (credit where credit is due- thanks Jenn!) and we have since implemented it into our past 5 (or so?) Christmas gatherings and it has become a crowd fav.  It is called “My Favorite Things”.


Yes, that is me as Julie Andrews with the von Trapp family children, you know, we are just singing about our favorite things, obviously.  Upon further discussion of the Sound of Music with my husband I discovered he has NEVER seen the movie Sound of Music.  For. Shame. I then realized that I knew all of the songs (after lip-syncing them in our office obnoxiously to my husband who seemed less-than-impressed), so it only seemed appropriate to put myself in the setting.

Ok, back to reality.  Here is how it works:

1 | Split your group into guys & girls
Because I’m sorry, girls favorite things are just different than guys favorite things, it’s the truth. Dads, brothers, uncles, boyfriends, you’re grouped. Moms, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, you’re grouped.

2 | Come up with your favorite thing!
Think about what is your favorite thing that tells something about you, but also, is something that you would totally recommend to someone else. We do a range of $10-$15 gift. Once you have found your favorite thing, purchase one of each “favorite thing” for each person in your gender group. (So if you have 5 girls participating, buy 4 of your favorite things as gifts for all the girls, and 5 if you want to buy one for yourself- I mean, it IS your favorite thing afterall :)

This is so fun because you end up getting a lot of smaller gifts that people love shopping for and love to give and recommend because they love it so much!  It’s also fun to see people play into their personalities. Finally, I think this does a good job of getting the guys involved and excited about finding their own favorite things.

Here are some great ideas that I’ve seen throughout the years of our family doing this tradition on both the girls and guys’ side (sorry, I do remember the girl gifts better :)

Girl Gift Ideas:

  • Fuzzy socks
  • Coffee shop gift cards
  • Coffee mugs
  • Picture Frames
  • Non-Slip Hangers
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry holder
  • Scarves
  • Mittens
  • Tights
  • Belts
  • Cookbooks
  • Subscription To Magazine
  • Chocolate
  • Gift Card to Movie Theater w/ a bag of popcorn
  • Boot Socks

Here are my Top 5 Ideas for 2014 Favorite Christmas Gifts for the Gals:

Christmas-Gift-Exchange-Favorite-Things-Girls1.  Anthropologie Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug | $10

2.  Don’t Quit Your Day Dream Mug | $15

3.  Target Throw Blanket | $24.99

4.  American Eagle Bow Headband | $9.50

5.  Old Navy Women’s Sweater-Knit Pom-Pom Hat | $12.94


Guy Gift Ideas:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Liquor
  • Beer
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tools
  • Movies
  • Slingshots
  • Nerf Guns
  • Flashlights
  • Shot Glasses
  • Beer Mugs


Now I know with getting together this week for Turkey day the conversation is bound to come up to organize the Christmas gift exchange.  Give this idea a try and I just know your group will love it! We sure do.

Now get on out there and find your favorite thing, yo.  I still need to find mine but hopefully will do so at 5am at Mall of America Black Friday shopping with my sisters (true story, that’s going down in T-minus 2 days).

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Fireplace Mantel Plans

So now that we can check the window off the list (CHECK! – I mean, what’s a checklist without making a big deal about the checking off action), we are turning our attention to the fireplace wall.

We essentially need to focus on the fireplace wall because as we are losing a wall to create an open concept kitchen/living/dining space, we are losing the wall our TV is currently up against.  Therefore, the living room layouts will be shifting, with the fireplace wall being the focal point (which, it should be), and our TV will go on the fireplace mantel. Ta-da! Wait, oh yeah back to the planning…

So here is what our fireplace looks like, as you can see it is not like a usual fireplace with brick/stone in the center and drywall on either side.  The ENTIRE wall is brick (I included a close up so you can see how cool/unique this wall is, the “bricks” are SO wide!)  Now, I think it’s a really awesome focal point that totally pays tribute to the era of the house and I wouldn’t dream of covering it up/re-doing it. However, we do need to make it more functional, hence the mantel.


At first I considered framing the fireplace itself – using this photo as inspiration – but thinking further and seeing the mockup, it just isn’t a “clean” look and chops up the stunning feature wall.  Strike 1.


Then, I thought maybe we would do a centered mantel in the middle (across 3 columns of brick), but I just worry it will look too puny/dainty for the wall.  I love the look if I had built ins or drywall on either side, but the entire brick wall? Eh, not sold.  Strike 2.


Finally, I decided that I love the feature wall and that I love the idea of having the fireplace mantel span the ENTIRE width.  Functionality wise I think I will really like having that much mantel for decor, photos, artwork, stockings, etc. (oh, yes and the TV).



As for mantel style, I really like the mantel that my brother and sister-in-law have at their house, a family friend made it and we’re calling that same friend in to do ours.  So while I don’t really know exactly what it will look like, I am going for a rustic and natural look and think that it will do great contrasting against the vintage modern feature wall.

What do you guys think?  How excited are you for a mantel?? Just in time for Christmas.  Fun fact, I’ve actually NEVER had a mantel to hang stockings on (my parents house we used the stairs, and my tiny house I used….well, the TV stand). Can’t wait!

Bay, Bow, No? Window Panes


We love the character and originality of our 1960’s Walk-Out Rambler home. However, one original feature that has become a “pane” (hahaha) is our original windows. (see what I did there?)

Now, most of our windows in our house that are original can be categorized under “annoyingly chilly”, to be replaced eventually.  However, if you Minnesotans can recall back to last winter (remember, we bought our house in January), it was a fr-eeeee-zing cold winter, one for the books.  We made the discovery that our living room bay window leaked soooo much cold air that it actually created ice on the INSIDE of the house.  Our solution?  Insulation by throw-pillows. So high-tech and energy efficient -not!  What was worse is that our living room layout called for our sofa to be up against the bay window, so if you were on the couch, you were freezing your bum off.  It had to be this way so we could keep the fireplace wall open because, well, we used the fireplace A LOT to heat the house and counteract the wrath of the bay window freeze.


We knew after last winter that we simply could NOT go through another winter with that draft (and heating bill), so we set out on a mission this Fall to get this baby replaced before the snow came. We started by having Home Depot and Window World both come to our house to do proposals/quotes. Holy-bologne. Having an installer do the whole thing ranged from $3,000-$4,000. Yikes! We are truly fortunate to have my Dad be a retired carpenter, so he heard those prices, laughed, and said we’d be doing it ourselves (dear Matt, please take off work, thanks.)

So, as you can see, in my Dad’s more-than-capable hands, we had to decide next what we were going to replace the window with. While I’m sure there is very valuable information about the install process itself, that is not my forte, but here are some photos of the men in action making this happen:





Now, I learned a thing or two about windows (far from an expert, mind you). But I’ll pass my knowledge on for the next window-shoppers out there.

Bay Window:
Fun fact, our window that I keep referring to as a “bay window”- not a REAL bay window.  A real bay window either jets out 30 or 45 degrees to create a “bench/seat/ledge” in the middle of the panes. When we were looking into bay windows I liked the 30 degree bays a lot more, the 45 almost feel like a box has been shoved on the side of your house. Kind of weird.

Bow Window:
Now THIS is what our current window was.  Bow refers to a window that wants to be a bay, but didn’t quite make the cut. It doesn’t jet out as far as 30 degrees so its in more of a bow form.  Our bow window had 2 casement windows on the left and right side that opened (with a crank), and two center pane windows that did not open.

After discovering the differences and seeing bay and bow windows in big box stores and salvage shops, I came to the conclusion that bay windows are silly expensive. Now, subjective I understand, but let me explain my reasoning and things I considered that made me realize the bay window just wasn’t worth the investment for us:

Window Location/Function
So, we live in a neighborhood, and this bay window in question is in the front of our house, facing the street. Realistically, we have our shades drawn/covering the window 90% of the time. It just seems unnatural to have the neighborhood looking in on you like a fish bowl (and vice-versa). Now, I grew up on 10 acres in the country, and we didn’t have one single window covering because you looked outside and all you saw was trees & fields. That’s just not the case here. It’s a neighborhood, which is fine, but I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a bay window that I am pretty certain will be covered up by some form of window treatment for privacy.

Exterior Appeal
Now, I wasn’t about to just take the cheap route and stick something on the very front of our house that looked like garbage, so that was taken into consideration too.  The truth was that the bow/jetting out aspect of the window really didn’t do much for the curb appeal, so I wasn’t worried about changing it up (but something to keep in mind).

 Change Of The Times
I think we were hesitant about taking out even the bow window (let alone a bay) because it just seems like a classic thing people want in homes. However, I feel like that is a little cliche/old school train of thought. I mean, we were keeping the same window opening area, so we were going to let in just as much light- which REALLY is what buyers are looking for in homes.



So all things considered, we went with a standard window from Lowes, they were having a promotion so we saved 30% which was great.  The window is flat, and features 2 casement windows (open with cranks) on either side, and one large pane in the middle (that doesn’t open).  While I was just relieved to have one picked out, I never imagined the new window would have these positive effects on our house:

 Room Feels Bigger
This is kind of ironic/seems backwards, since you would think that by taking out the bow window (which, remember, jetted outward from the room), would make the room feel smaller, that is not the case at all. We think it is because there is so much more glass vs. wood in the old window design.



Walkway Feels Bigger
Remember when I said to make sure you consider your exterior? Well, we thought about the curb appeal of the house, but didn’t realize that our walkway (that used to have the bow window on your left jetting out from the house as you walked to the front door) feels SO much more wide and open without the window protruding from the house. Woot woot!



Trim Makes A Big Deal
After the window was in, we had to decide on what kind of wood to use for trim. Since the interior framing of the window itself is pine, we opted for Pine for the trim (in case we stain it them the wood would match).  Going from our old yellow-y original 60s oak trim to this beautiful, thick, pine trim makes me weak in the knees with glee at the difference trim can make.



AND the best part? The window is sealed and is keeping our living room toasty warm! (No throw-pillow insulation this year, yes!)  We got this done literally in the knick of time just one week before Mother Nature dusted the Twin Cities with snow and plummeted our temperatures into the 20s (which p.s. heard on the radio today, this is JANUARY weather, Mother Nature, not November. Check yourself.)




I think we can all agree Lewis approves too.  Anywho, yay for our new window! I hope you walk away with a small piece of knowledge should you ever have to replace a large window!

*Next on the docket, what should we do for trim?! (Finally, something more aesthetic/visual/fun). Such a huge decision (since it will carry through the whole house). I love white, but Matt isn’t sold. He wants to go with a clear poly over the pine, but I don’t want it to turn yellow-ish. How about white-wash?  What do you guys think?!


Target Holiday 2014 Loves

Let me start with a confession about my previous Friday night.  I got off work with no plans for the night, so I headed to Caribou for a little recharge. From there I headed over to Target where I proceeded to get a cart (I mean, sometimes pushing around your purse while drinking a coffee is just way too nice). Besides, I knew I’d fill up a cart. Well, after perusing around the store for awhile, I left Target with one small makeup item :)  Confession or not, it was a pretty nice Friday night enjoying my Caribou coffee and perusing the Holiday section at Target to start to get into the “holiday spirit”.

So (for all my Minne-snow-tans) out there, in honor of our first real day of snow, check out some of my Target Holiday 2014 loves.  I think this may be a good way to justify these types of Target trips :) I like the idea of sorting these by color schemes, so there will for sure be more to come.

Gotta love Target!



1. Texture Deer Figurine

2. Tabletop Deer Head

3.  Ornament Wreath

4.  Brushed Bronze “JOY” sign

5.  Beverage Dispenser

6.  Fair Isle Pillow

7.  Snowflake Sparkle Pillow

8.  Red Chevron Pouf

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