December 2013 - The Surznick Common Room

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone! Can you believe Christmas is this week?! We had a totally crazy month getting ready for the holidays. Preparing to host Christmas at our apartment this year has been a lot of work, but we're so excited to have family here with us in Pittsburgh. We're a little bummed that we haven't been able to devote as much time to the Surznick Common Room as we would like to, so we can't wait until things settle down a little bit. Once 2014 is here we can get back to sharing lots of projects and recipes with you guys!

So we're just here today to check in and say that we hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and fun holiday! Nick and I spent all morning baking tons of cookies with my mom and now we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of his parents. We had such a blast decorating this year and getting everything holiday-ready. Here are some pictures of Surznick Christmas 2013 so far!


 Have a great week!

Sarah & Nick

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Make your own personal Guess Who? game

Do you guys remember the game Guess Who? It's that game where each opponent selects a card with a picture of a person on it and you have to ask yes or no questions to determine which person your opponent has selected. It was so much fun to play growing up, but I probably hadn't thought about it in 15 years until I saw this pin where they replaced the stock images with pictures of people they know. How perfect is this idea?!

Nick and I decided that we wanted to make our own version of Guess Who? to play with the family over Thanksgiving, so we started searching high and low at every Goodwill in the Pittsburgh area (and a few others), but we couldn't find this game ANYWHERE! (I actually couldn't believe how impossible it was to find Guess Who? I mean, really?) But finally after weekends of arduous searching, we went to a thrift store that Nick passes to and from work and they had TWO Guess Who?'s! I was so excited, I snatched one up immediately and it was only $1.00!

Just a note, we did search online for Guess Who? but it appears that they don't make the 24-photo version anymore. If you look for it on Amazon, the current version only uses 15 photos and has a different format. The 24-photo versions are on eBay but are more expensive than the new ones! So we decided that thrifting was going to be our best bet.

Once we got home with our purchase, the first thing we had to do was determine who was going to be included in our list of 24 people. After we got our roster ready to go, we went through family wedding photos and of course, Facebook, to get the perfect picture for each person. We tried to find pictures that would offer a lot of variety when asking questions, like some with glasses, hats, beards, etc.

By the way, no one except for Nick and I knows that we did this, so shout out to our family, we hope you guys like this surprise!

Next I measured the little cardboard photo inserts and the deck of cards to determine the correct size and I cropped each photo accordingly. You'll need two copies of each of the inserts (one for the red board and one for the blue), but you'll only need one copy of the card photos (unless you're like me and you want to put everyone's faces on the front of the box also).

We cut everything out and then glued the photos directly on to the existing cardboard inserts and deck of cards. The only thing left to do is put your photo inserts back into the game boards and you're ready to play!

If you saw our last post, we mentioned that we're having the family to our apartment for Christmas this year. Since we didn't get this ready in time for Thanksgiving, we can't wait to play Surznick Family Guess Who? with everyone here over Christmas!

We hope that you enjoy the rest of your weekend! I think it's just about time for us to test out this creation...

Sarah & Nick

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Merry & Bright Marquee

Nick and I are SO excited about Christmas this year. This is our sixth Christmas together, but I think it will only be the third time we're actually spending Christmas day together. We decided that this year instead of picking and choosing between who to see on Christmas day (since our families live 3.5 hours apart), we would have the family here!

Knowing that we're hosting Christmas has really gotten us into the holiday spirit, so we've been trying to come up with creative ways to decorate the apartment. That's when I saw this homemade Merry & Bright marquee on A Beautiful Mess, made by Laura of ABM and The Band Wife Blog. It is freakin' gorgeous and I wanted it to be mine so badly, but I had a couple hesitations about making it. First, they made theirs out of a wood board that they had to drill holes through. We don't have a drill. Even if we did, we don't have a great place to drill things inside our apartment and it's 27 degrees outside. Second, the cost. Their list of supplies probably would have been more than we want to spend on a seasonal decoration.

I kind of put the idea out of my head, but then on Saturday morning Nick and I were wandering around JoAnn Fabric when I decided to show him the picture of the marquee. He thought it was awesome too, so we walked around the store to see if they had anything we could use to make one without using wood.

Here's what we came up with! We bought a thick foam poster board to use in place of the wood board and gold, glittery foam sheets to cut letters out of. Total cost was about $5.50! We already had a string of white lights, so that didn't cost us anything.

When we got home we printed out giant letters and cut them out to use as our templates. Then we mapped out where the lights were going to go on each letter. I'm super glad we did because I initially marked out 109 lights when our string only had 100, so we had to make some cutbacks.

Saving the environment by printing one R!
Next we traced the letters on to the backs of the foam sheets, making sure that each letter was face down so that the front of each letter would be gold. Once all of the letters were cut out, we glued them onto the poster board with some Elmer's glue and let them dry overnight.

The next day we trimmed down the poster board and marked where we wanted the holes with a little Sharpie dot. Nick drilled the holes using this handy dandy tool that we don't know the name for (someone help us out here?) He then made the holes a little bigger with a screwdriver.

The last step was putting in the lights! We didn't need to use tape to fasten our lights, as they fit snug into the holes.

The only thing left was to plug it in, and TA DA! It was perfect!

What do you guys think of our final product? I think it's so unique and adds the perfect amount of holiday cheer to our decor (I also can't believe that we actually MADE it!) I'm so thrilled that it turned out well, even though we improvised on ABM's directions.

Happy decorating this holiday season! Be sure to share your fun decoration ideas with us!

Sarah & Nick