Thursday, February 27, 2014

Of Cubbies and Thrifting Co-ops


We are beginning to wonder if spring will ever come this year…tonight will be at least –10 yet again!  Yikes!

To distract myself, I’ve been busy-ing myself with stuff around the house, though I don’t have much to show you here. 

I did get the back of the cubby painted in the bedroom!  See?


Baby steps!  Here is the color, Mysterious by Benjamin Moore (our local hardware store was clearing out the sample pots and they were on sale for 75 cents a piece…woot!!  I grabbed three but only used 2 so I have one more for something else). 


It is looking more finished already than this messy maroon two-tone look it started out as:


I decided to paint over the cable hookup so there is less to distract.  One outlet is easier to hide than two!  We don’t have cable and don’t plan to have a TV in here anyway (and the hookup is still fully functioning, just more hidden). 

I had all the shelves cut today and I have a plan (a cheap plan!) for the shelf holders (or whatever you call the things the shelf sits on!) and the molding that goes on the front.  Hopefully it will all work out the way I plan.  You know how these things can go!

I am super excited about some stuff I found out thrifting this week!  It has got me all excited about this bedroom project again…I was feeling a little meh about the headboard plan and this really has me all rarin’ to go.  I hope it turns out!  (I’ll show you as soon as I have it done!)


I think we need to band together and start thrifting cooperatives.  For example, yesterday out thrifting I saw this hutch:


It is a nice hutch…I really like how simple it is…and with a little love it could look a lot like the one in my kitchen:


(This was at the old house but it is alive and well in our dining area here!)

One of my friends had emailed me a while back saying that she was going to look for a hutch like the one I had and when I saw it in the thrift store I had to email her the picture.  I don’t know if it is right for her or if she will get it, but I got to thinking…wouldn’t it be cool if we all had little wish lists we could share with other “thrifters” and then when they saw something on our list they would let us know where and when they saw it so we could go check it out?  Of course it would probably only work for locals, but still…I think it would be fun!  I know I come across so many things while I am garage saling, etc. that I think…wow, that is nice and it is a good deal…but I don’t need it or have space in my house for it so I don’t get it.  But if I knew someone else was looking for that particular item, I’d snap a picture and tell them where to find it and maybe a thrifty match would be made! 

Just an idea I had percolating in my brain.  : )

How is it possible it is almost March??? 

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tips for Selling your House


I thought since now is the time for planning for a spring or summer move, this could be timely even though the weather is far from spring-like in this climate.  : )

When we sold our house last summer it was a bittersweet moment.  We had so many happy memories in that home and it really was a lovely little house.  What we didn’t care for was its urban location—something that we could not change.  We longed for a place where we didn’t feel like fish in a fishbowl.  But before we could move on, we had to sell our home first.


These tips aren’t rocket science (nor are they guaranteed to sell your house!), just little things I did that may have helped our home to appear attractive to potential buyers and sell in 2 weeks. 

In no particular order:


Make it smell fresh!  And I don’t mean plug in an air freshener…’cause personally if I were the prospective buyer I would really be turned off by that and I would wonder if they were trying to hide some awful smell!  Clean the carpet, wipe down everything with some nice-smelling cleaner, keep the bathrooms aired out, scrub around the toilets, make sure the garbage disposal is squeaky clean, and above all if you have pets make sure their litter boxes, beds, toys, etc are not smelly!  I don’t know how many houses we looked at that had a distinctive pet odor lingering in certain places (or everywhere!).  In our own home I even went as far as to run a hot shower for a few minutes with some Irish Spring soap on the shower floor to make sure our basement shower smelled as fresh and clean as could be just before every showing. 


Take down all personal pictures!  I had read elsewhere that having personal photos around makes it difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in the house and I think that is definitely true.  I took down all of ours and we found that we didn’t feel at home in the houses we looked at with lots of photos up everywhere.  Now, I don’t know if you have to be as radical as I was and take them all down, but it certainly can’t hurt! 


Declutter.  Take everything that you don’t need out of the house.  Less stuff makes your house seem bigger!  Plus, it is hard for people to see past all the stuff to imagine their own things there.  Moving is always a good time to get rid of things anyway and to pare down what you have too, so start early!


Spruce up the outside.  I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of bags of fresh mulch to put down around our flowerbeds and around our garage.  It really made the property look well maintained.  We also made sure to keep the sidewalks swept and the grass trimmed.  In the winter make sure your walks are shoveled and de-iced (if you live where it snows).  A nice wreath on the front door always makes the house look loved as well!  We also seeded some parts of the lawn where the grass was thin to get the lawn looking lush and green. 


Go neutral.  Got a wall that’s bright orange?  Maybe you loved it, but most other people will remember your house as the one with the orange (or neon green, or bright purple) room.  Get a $25 gallon of paint in a neutral color and (carefully!) paint the wall. 


Try to sell in the spring!  Our realtor shared that spring is the best time to sell a house (at least in our area) as many people are looking to be settled in their new house before the next school year starts.  Plus, it is just plain easier to move when it is warmer out!  Your yard most likely looks its best at this time of year too.  I know though that often you don’t have total control over when you need/want to sell, so this may not be an option for you.


Make sure the pictures on your listing are a good indication of what your house looks like!  I ended up taking pictures of our house myself and submitting them to the realtor because I had seen way too many listings where the rooms looked simply awful due to the poor quality of the photos.  I never saw any pictures that our realtor took so I have no idea what skill he had in that area, but I knew I could do a pretty good job so I did it myself.  If your realtor takes pictures and they look bad, don’t be shy.  Tell him/her nicely you want them re-taken or take them yourself or get someone else to take pictures.  You will be paying said realtor thousands of dollars at the closing…you are the customer and you have the final say in this, so be proactive!


Prayer.  Moving is a big deal in your life!  We prayed daily during this whole process…that we would sell our house, that we would find the house God meant for us, that things would go as smoothly as possible.  I truly believe this played a huge part in it going as well as it did.  It certainly wasn't pain-free, but we definitely felt confident we were doing the right thing and that God was guiding us in our house hunt. 


Add a bouquet of fresh flowers to the kitchen table (or somewhere in the kitchen).  Alstroemeria last a long time, and they are pretty cheap so a few bunches of those won’t break the bank.  It makes the whole house seem more inviting!


Re-consider some of your décor.  Maybe you LOVE all your taxidermy, but others may not share your enthusiasm for deer heads peeking out of fake trees along your walls.  Enter some visuals of “What Not To Do”: 


Aaaannnd…it only gets worse:


Hellooooo deer!


(All photos courtesy of my husband from an actual house that we went to look at!  And there were even more non-pictured animals and trees!) 

In a similar vein, your “saloon” complete with lots of neon bar signs will only appeal to a small group of people and most buyers really just want to see if the room size will accommodate their furniture and if it is in good condition.  Not an easy thing to ascertain when you have to maneuver around novelty beer items and a mini fridge or two!  (Again, speaking from experience here!!)

Well there you have it…little tips that certainly won’t eliminate any big problems in your house, but may help you make your home just a little more desirable to potential buyers.  Wishing those of you who are in this process a speedy and fair sale of your home!  And may you quickly have one of these in your yard…


Linking up with Remodelaholic’s Anonymous Party, Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza, The DIY Showoff’s That DIY Party, Home Coming’s The DIYers,

Monday, February 17, 2014

What is Inspiring Me—Master Bedroom Edition


Hello again!!  We just got a few more inches of snow…and here I thought we were beating old man winter at his game with this slightly warmer weather we’ve been having!  Today is supposed to be 39 degrees though, so a major improvement over our recent temps for sure.  It has me soooo ready for spring!

Since nothing is happening outside yet, I’m hatching up a plan for our master bedroom.  It involves navy blue, walnut wood, oatmeal/natural,  white, and gray…with maybe a pop of green?

flora hues

(via DesignSeeds)

I am thinking a different shade of green though, more like the one in this palette:

color shore

(via DesignSeeds)

I just want it to be a restful and soothing oasis.  : )  Those scenes look pretty peaceful, right??  : )

Onward…some photos that inspire me for this space, starting with an idea for that awkward little nook we have in there:

dresser view from door

(via Centsational Girl)

I am thinking that painting the back of that cubby navy with white shelves will create a very similar look to the one above.  Really pretty!

Many of my inspirational photos have a slight nautical twist to them, but I like that none of them are necessarily nautical themed.  I like the occasional octopus:

aha, an octopus print for the hubby!

(via Bright, Bold, and Beautiful)

or the understated whale:

wave headboard in oyster with navy trim

(via Oomph Online)

and even a nod to a porthole:

French Stripe Jersey-Knit Bedding - Garnet Hill I like the mix of wood tones+white+navy

(via Garnet Hill)

but I would never want a room that was completely nautical themed and had boat and sea everything. 

I really liked this collected-looking room, though without the additional furniture and grandiose headboard:

Need a change, something bright, wonderful and ultra rad? Style your place with a new funky rug. Shop these affordable, bright, cool rugs. <br />1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 /10

(via Uncovet blog)

I thought this bedroom seemed very relaxing and not-too-feminine:

Seaside Style: A Beach Cottage Dream  I really like this bedroom. Lots of white, navy blue, and just a splash of natural wood tones. Very Classic-Nautical. Nice. Most people over do a Nautical themed room but this one is a nice design.

(from Pinterest—if you know where the original is from please let me know!)

I thought this treatment on the vaulted ceiling added so much character to the room:

Like the treatment on the vaulted ceiling

(via Pinterest, but again no idea where the original is from…please let me know if you do!)

Remember, I have a perhaps overly ambitious item on my room list, which is putting faux beams on the vaulted ceiling.  No idea if it will actually happen, but I think it would look really neat!

Just one more:

(via The Decorista)

Of course, the inspiration pictures are exactly that—inspiration!  No way our room is going to look quite like those, but it is certainly fun to look…and very helpful for me to get a general idea of what I am going for here. 

Hopefully I’ll be able to start working on some projects in there this week!

Linking up to Remodelaholic’s Anonymous Party, Home Coming’s The DIYers,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Next…Master Bedroom


One area of the house I haven’t focused on much at all since we moved last June is our master bedroom.  Since we don’t spend much time in there apart from sleeping, it gets rather neglected in the beauty area.  On the flip side, it doesn’t usually get very messy either, which is always a welcome change for this mom who is constantly trying to keep the rest of the house from looking like a tornado went through it.  : )

I really would like to eventually get some curtains and something on the walls, so the room feels a little more homey and lived-in.  Plus, I just think it will be a fun room to decorate.  : )

Here is where we started, before we moved our bed and stuff in:


I realize that picture doesn’t tell you much about the room, but it does scream “90’s!” so you can get the vibe of the whole area.  Picture this, but continuing all around the room.  I’m really not a fan of maroon so I knew this would be one of the first things in the house to get painted, and thankfully it was.  My sister helped me paint it when my husband was out of town last fall, and I also took those curtains down ASAP.  They looked like big bushy eyebrows to me!! 

Here is the room today…keep in mind I have not done anything except paint in here!!!  This is the starting point, my friends.


Also, I realized that we still have the wreaths on our windows in this picture .  I did take them down yesterday, yay for me!!!!!  (Sarcastically patting myself on the back right now…)  Also, I’m just a little embarrassed because we normally have a nicer comforter on our bed, but I had spilled red wine while reading on it the night before so it was in the wash!  Baby blue spare blankets to the rescue!! 

We painted the room Worldly Gray by Benjamin Moore (color-matched in Olympic paint).  I think they may have made a little mistake in the tinting department as it didn’t seem quite the same color as the same Worldly Gray I painted in the dining room of our previous house, but I still really like it.  It bridges gray and tan and is a very calming neutral.  Which is exactly what I want this room to be…calming!!  I want it to be our quiet and calming refuge from the sea of noise our three rowdy (but very loved!) children bring to our lives. 

Ok, enough talking.  More pictures:


You can see from the picture above that it has a vaulted ceiling which I wasn’t sure of at first, but have since decided that I really like (especially because it has a skylight…see below).


It is a fairly large room, so much larger than our old bedroom.  The bed is king-sized so it takes up a lot of space, but there is still plenty of room around it.  One nice thing is that we don’t have to keep our dressers in our room as we have a pretty large closet-room attached too. 


Ok, here goes.  I have a lot of plans for this room!  See that little indented area in the wall? 


When we moved it in had a couple of shelves made of particle-board on a very unattractive metal shelving system (think metal strips with brackets on either side of the opening).  It looked like something college kids would have in their dorm room. 

I would like to make real wood shelves and trim them out to look something more like this inspiration photo:

(via Thrifty and Chic)

Wouldn’t that be pretty?  (I’m not sure my bibliophile husband would agree however… ; )

Next up, we need some curtains!


I really have no ideas for curtains yet, except I know they will be cheap.  : )  Stay tuned for that. 

Since I love lists, here’s a list of my ideas for this room:

  • Install shelves in inset area (and paint the wall behind navy)
  • Cheap curtains, most likely DIY
  • Headboard (DIY…I’ve had all the materials for this for months and months and just haven’t done it yet!)
  • Re-make bedskirt (since our bed is a Cali King I’d rather spend a little time sewing than a lot of money on a new one)
  • Do something about the golden oak trim and doors (I’m mulling over this one, any suggestions?  My husband likes the wood-grain look while I would prefer to just paint it)
  • Thrift a different side table for his side of the bed, something industrial strength to hold all the books he normally has stacked there.  : )
  • Possibly install a different ceiling fan, perhaps the much nicer one from the kitchen area that we don’t really use?
  • ART!!
  • Maybe maybe if I get a wild hair (and lots of energy), put in faux beams on the vaulted ceiling.

I’ll leave you with that overload today and come back another day with some pictures that are inspiring me for this bedroom!

Hopefully in the meantime our littlest guy will get the tooth he has been cutting with a vengeance for the past couple of weeks and return to his former happy self and let me get some sleep (and more time to blog!). 

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Smattering of Friday Thoughts

No comments:

I just want to chat today.  I have been unusually productive today and I’m not exactly sure why…though it is sunny and I took 4,000mg of Vitamin D so maybe that is why???  NO idea.

First off, I went to Target last night after my book club to get a few bits and bobs, and found these in the dollar spot:


Little wooden push pins!  Aren’t they just darling?  I got one little box and another of the pink flags.  I don’t have a cork or pin board at the moment (I have one in the basement that needs some TLC before I can use it) but I knew this was something I wouldn’t easily find in the future so I grabbed them. 


If you want them…get thee down to your Target before they’re all snatched up!

Whenever I go to Target I keep an eye on the endcaps in the home section (and take a quick scan down the aisles for the red clearance flags) to see if there is anything good on clearance.  I usually come up empty, but I happened to check in the bedding aisles and found a king sheet set marked down to 18.88 (from 62.99!)


Now, if you have had to buy king sheets you know how expensive that can get!  I was super excited that these were actually a print/color combo that was exactly what I had in mind for our bedroom. 

Here’s the tricky part—we don’t actually have a king bed—we have a California king bed.  It is a long story why we have it but suffice to say we don’t have any decent sheets for it.  Aaaand California king sheets are normally even more expensive than regular king sheets.  They are a slightly different dimension than a regular king…4” narrower and 4” longer which, if the bed were square, would not be a big deal (you could just turn the sheet sideways).  But, beds are not a perfect square so that doesn’t work so well.  However, this was such a good deal, and it fit mattresses up to 18” deep, so I decided to take a chance and see if it possibly could fit our bed.  I knew I could take it back if it didn’t fit.  I tried it on our bed this morning and it totally fits!!  I did turn the fitted sheet sideways (which doesn’t bother me in the slightest).  I’m so excited to have nice sheets for our bed!  I don’t know if the deep pocket made a difference or if any king sheet would work, but you can bet  I’m not going to be looking for California king sheets again. 

So, on the off chance that someone reading has a Cali king bed…you can probably just go and buy regular king sheets for it!! 


I made this recipe for Banana Muffins today and they are amazing!!  The brown sugar mixture on top cooks to a lovely crunchy crust and it is just so yummy!  I need to stop eating them. 




Our oldest is quite the budding artist and she asked today if she could copy this picture:

Auguste Renoir - A Girl with a Watering Can - Google Art Project.jpg

(via Wikipedia)

She came upstairs later with this little masterpiece:


She took a few artistic liberties but it is pretty good for a 5 year old I think!  It certainly makes me smile, anyway.  : )


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Long Kitchen Wall—Finished!


(For now…)

I finally did get to Ikea (didn’t end up going last week as there was a big snowstorm the day I was planning to go) and got the brackets, so I’m crossing this area off my list.  I’m sure I’ll tweak it from time to time, but for now it is done.


I added the shelves to the left of the dresser and also the mounted pasta poster. 


I bought these brackets at Ikea and painted them white to match the pine boards I cut and painted for shelves. 

I think this poster is so fun!!  I found it while we were on a little weekend trip at a place called Madison Modern Market. 


It is a Cavallini print and we are all pasta experts now:


It has a number next to each illustration of pasta that corresponds to a name on the list.  My husband jokes that we need to try all the different types of pasta now…but there are over 100 on here so it could take a while!!

I mounted it with spray adhesive (I was going to use Mod Podge but I read it might bubble) onto a piece of MDF that I cut to the exact size.  I stained the edges with walnut stain so it would tie into the other dark woods on this side of the wall, then used D-rings for hanging.  It covers an unused and oddly positioned phone jack (shhhh!).



Please excuse the drywall dust on the floor in this ^ picture.  : )  I was in such a hurry to take pictures I didn’t even sweep after I installed the shelves into the wall. 

And as always, the most fun is “styling” the shelves. 


I’m sure I will change up the shelves often but for now they look like this!  I gathered all the shelf stuff from around the house…love shopping the house for new arrangements!


All right!  I promise I will give you a break from the kitchen area for a while.  I have other plans for the other side of the room where all the cabinets are (which I am not going to take a picture of right now because…we live here and there are dirty dishes/snack supplies/art projects galore on the counters!) but that will be a bigger project and will take a while.  Who knows when that will get started and done!

We do have a master bedroom I am itching to do something with!  That may be next on my never-ending list!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Getting Started on Garden Planning


As much as I enjoy making the inside of our home more personal and pretty, I’m also a little obsessed with taking that to the outside of our house too.  At this time of the year I’m usually coming home from the library with stacks of gardening magazines and books, poring through seed catalogs, and planning the next season’s garden.  This year is no exception—I was just at the library this morning : )


I am certainly an amateur at this…none of our gardens are professional looking by any means…but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy pottering about with a shovel and hoe and moving plants from one place to another.  Even when I lived in an apartment I still tried to plant some pots with flowers and even once attempted a disastrous fail of a vegetable container garden.  (Short story—everything slowly died!) 

Since we’re now on a property with a lot more space (and room to garden!) I no longer need to even think about relegating plants to containers (though I still do for the front steps and deck).  I am especially excited this year because of this!  My husband LOVES to mow so I don’t want to take over too much of the lawn (it still takes hours to mow so I don’t think there is any need for him to worry!).  Still, I have all sorts of fun garden ideas.  In the past I have taken pencil and paper and drawn a rough sketch of our gardens (at our old house) with what plants go where, and I plan to do that for our new yard too.  The former owners passed on this map of our yard and woods that I am also planning to use.  Isn’t it cute??


They named all the trails in the woods after places in the Lord of the Rings.  (They even have markers in the woods with the trail names on them!)  I think it is too funny.  : )

I’m not really all that good at drawing designs so I plan to use this heavily for my garden plans.  ( I think I may try to make some plans in Photoshop though.)  We have already changed some of this around, adding the gardens that are in green below.  The biggest one is a potential vegetable garden that we tilled last fall. 


I have grand schemes of adding a more formal garden here somewhere, perhaps in the front yard or directly behind the house.  I don’t want it to look pretentious and silly though so perhaps a cottage type garden would be more appropriate to the house style.  What do you think?  Keep in mind this is the front of our house in the summer:


I’m thinking a path to the front door surrounded by flower beds would be pretty, sort of like this:

diversity of plants and flowers planted in a dramatic entry garden in front a blue house

(via This Old House)

Of course, that is more ambitious than I have time and energy for, but you get the general idea!  We’ll see how much of this possibility actually gets done.  : )  Right now there are two feet of snow over our whole yard so it seems very appealing to actually be able to work in the yard…not so much when it is 90 degrees outside and you’re sweating buckets. 

Any ideas as to what style of garden would go best with our house??  I’m leaning towards informal cottage because that is easiest and more like what I am familiar with…but a formal style could be a fun challenge!

Regardless…I’m busy poring over books and books filled with green stuff and dreaming of a green spring!