Wednesday, June 26, 2013

House Update #4: Filling in the gaps

First of all, we are less than three weeks away from getting married! Finally getting down to the wire with our move and realizing that June went by way too fast!

When I forget to bring a change of clothes I wear Seisuke's board shorts...but still it gets way too hot!

Two weeks ago, I had a couple days off and got to help Seisuke out with the house. For the past two months, Seisuke has had the same schedule: work on the house until lunch, eat lunch, go to work until 8pm, eat dinner, do more work (printing) at home. Poor guy! He has been working so hard that I wish I could do more! :/ But since the house is so far away from where I live I can only help out on the weekends. We were pretty productive working together but one problem we had is that it was very HOT. Like 90+ degrees and humid. No AC. Yeah, you can imagine!

Our bedroom

Our bedroom that we used as a work space to prep strips of wallpaper for the hallway

Last time we did the accent wall together but now we have the other three walls (and two closets!) covered with fresh white walls. One thing I noticed with DIY was that it is very hard to avoid cracks or “gaps” showing between each strip of wall paper. Seisuke said it is because the white wallpaper was thinner than we expected, which makes it harder to work with. However, he did have some white paste-type stuff that is for filling in the gaps. I went around smudging the stuff with my finger on all the walls and ceilings while he continued to wallpaper the second floor hallway. What a project! It was actually very time consuming and the heat did not help!

Seisuke had to set up the ladder like this to wallpaper the staircase...always made me so nervous that we was working alone on this!
Later I asked Seisuke to let me wallpaper a section of the hallway. The reason was because if I didn’t get to try doing it myself I wouldn’t be able to fully understand what Seisuke was doing. It is harder to be critical of something if you know how hard it is to do. So he let me do the short walls around the stairs. We measured the height, measured out the wallpaper, pasted it on (luckily we were using “pre-glued” wallpaper), smoothed out the cracks, and then trimmed all four sides. The trimming is the hardest part because you basically use some kind of guide and have to cut off the extra paper with an exacto knife. Depending on the angle you hold the blade and the pressure you use, you will get either a straight line, a wavy line, or you can even rip the paper because it is so soggy from all the glue! That was the tiring part...especially on a low wall where you basically have to squat for twenty minutes straight until you finish. It is definitely hard to make DIY jobs look professional but at least nothing looks sloppy. And now I can appreciate everything Seisuke is doing more since I got to try it. But after two sheets of wallpaper, I was done. :P I decided to paint the ceiling while he wallpapered the rest. That was good teamwork because Seisuke doesn’t like painting the ceiling.

Upstairs hallway
Although he did two coats of white paint before, compared to the new white walls, the ceiling still looked yellow. So I gave it another coat of white paint. If anyone getting married is worried about working out before their wedding, let me just tell you that all you have to do is remodel your house! You get a full body workout! My arms definitely felt the burn from all that rolling action and the whole time I kept thinking, this is the third coat of paint….that means all of this times three for every bedroom we paint….ahhh!!!

Painting the ceiling a third coat of white
Upstairs ceiling

After several hours, we finally finished the upstairs hallway and our bedroom. I was really pleased with how much progress we made! The next goal was the rest of the stairs, the downstairs hallway, and the toilet. I asked Seisuke to prioritize the toilet because, although we can eat dinner at his parents’ house next door, not having a toilet is kind of inconvenient, don’t you think?

We also went shopping for wallpaper paint for the other upstairs bedrooms. There are four bedrooms upstairs. Our bedroom was his parents’ room, so we had to take down all the wallpaper since it was sticky and smoky. That is where the funky wavy wallpaper came in. The other rooms I inspected and decided that they could just be repainted because Seisuke found paint specifically made for wallpaper. When we were peeling off all the wallpaper in the house (which now seems like ages ago!) we got really tired so that is one of the reasons I decided to leave the original wallpaper in the other bedrooms. Another reason is that re-wallpapering walls will never look as good as the original wallpaper since the surface underneath is not as smooth. Another plus is that painting is a lot cheaper than wallpapering. We found a hardware store that carried over a thousand shades of paint (the brand we found online only had a dozen or so) so I was in heaven! I was really leaning toward coral for our sewing/work room but it was too pink for Seisuke so we settled on apricot. It’s a really nice color! I knew I wanted mint for one of the bedrooms and I loved a blush pink sample I saw but since there is a possibility that we could end up with all boys, we opted for a baby blue for the other bedroom. Plus the pink might look more “Pepto” in person…don’t want to risk that.

The rest of the weekend we did some work on wedding prep and I encouraged Seisuke to start cleaning out the other bedrooms so I could start painting them (why do empty rooms always become storage closets???). ;) I felt very "mom-like" offering to clean it out for him instead.... :P

Here are some pictures of the rest of the house:

This is what our dining room looks like right now
Hallway and the bathroom/laundry room (in Japan the toilet is in a separate room from the shower)

What our living room looks like right now.

Entry way

View from our front steps looking out

Part of the front yard

Front view of our house

Our house

Land in front of our house used for growing onions and potatoes

Monday, June 3, 2013

House Update #3: Ooh baby I love your WAVES!!

So it’s June, which means we are one month away from being married and have little time to finish wallpapering our house! It has been hard because Seisuke has been very busy with work this year, but hopefully we can at least get half of the house complete before I move in with all my stuff! Luckily, we have lots of storage inside and outside the house, so “stuff” can be moved in later. Bad news is that having lots of space makes it easy to hoard…so I hope we will be able to purge a lot before moving it into the house. I had a few hours on Sunday morning to help wallpaper, so we decided to do the bedroom accent wall. This project takes two people because we decided to use the pattern horizontally instead of vertically. I love how it turned out though! The wavy lines remind me of the ocean, which is why I have my own version of the 70’s classic “Ooh baby I love your way(waves)” stuck in my head every time I look at it!

I am looking forward to doing the rest of the patterned wallpaper in the downstairs rooms, but unfortunately we have tons of white paper to finish first. Hopefully things will go smoothly this month! :)

The Making Of: Our Invitations

One of the DIY projects that ended up taking a very long time was our wedding invitations. At first, I was excited to see so many new and beautiful designs available on the internet. But when having a wedding for less than fifty people, and only needing about twenty invitations, it was not reasonable to order invitations that would end up costing over $5 per invite. I think that ordering invitations is better for larger weddings, where you would order like a hundred or more, because then the cost per invite goes down drastically.

SO, we decided to create our own! Sounds easy, right? Seisuke is a graphic designer and I like drawing, so what a perfect combination for making invitations! But it ended up taking a long time because there were just so many ideas to choose from and different paper/printing options that it was really hard to choose! Well, we ended up coming up with something that was our style but also affordable to make.

First I found a design that I liked on an invitation website and I was almost going to just order them and be done with it, but after realizing that we could totally do it ourselves, I sent the design to Seisuke and had him find me all the fonts to match. I love chevron so this seemed perfect; but instead of gold foil printing, we opted for a pink ombre pattern.

Paper Source Wedding Invitation

Our design

I wanted to include some kind of illustration like I found on these Rifle Paper Co. invitations, but this kind of work is all done on Photoshop or Illustrator and I do not have the skills or time to “draw” a graphic design….so we created something that represented “us.”
rifle paper co custom invitations

beautifully illustrated invitations by rifle paper co
Initial drawings
I originally wanted to include Japanese symbolism in the design
I played around with different motifs and thought about making Seisuke's last name into a monogram-type emblem
Some other initial drawings

Our end drawing
Choosing the right "skin" color was fun and challenging
The two "skin" colors I had did not seem to match, so I ended up shopping for new Copics in Namba

Testing out dozens of "skin" color Copic markers....
 We made a 3-D puzzle, similar to other products Seisuke makes and sells, using a drawing that I drew on paper, scanned, and Seisuke touched up on Illustrator. We love how they turned out and hope people will have fun with the DIY craft project included.

They don't sell 5x7" paper in Japan, so I bought large card stock and we cut out the invitations ourselves (when we made these invitations, it was still very cold in Japan...hence the floral blanket)

Printing 5x7" card stock on a home printer also turned out to be a challenge!
After you cut out the pieces, you can make a 3-D Save the Date!

I think I got a good resemblance, don't you think?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

House Update #2: Off the wall

We have been stripping the walls this past month and are ready to order wallpaper! I picked up some Marimekko wallpaper for the kitchen that I CANNOT WAIT to put on our nice, clean walls! That will have to come last, though, since we are going to start with the hallways before we work our way to the important walls! Here are a few pics of our progress!

Upstairs halls are stripped

Seisuke took down all the curtain rods so I could tear off the wallpaper

Our bare walls

After removing the light fixtures, we found the original wall paper color.....

The stripped living room

Living room and dining room in the back

Sometimes picking up the wall paper pieces was a task in itself!

This glass was broken when his mom tried to move a couch...Seisuke asked me if this could be a DIY project, too.....

The brown color is the original wall paper and the white color is the unfinished wall color underneath

Sometimes I had to wear shades to avoid dust and pieces of wall falling into my eyes when peeling off the ceiling paper

Seisuke scrubbed this for me about four or five times and now it's finally white

Remember this lovely before pic?

Kitchen in progress....