up to lately…

I just read several of my friends blogs and got convicted or whatever you want to call it that I had been slacking in posting yet again.  I’ve been busy but we all know that’s a lame excuse.  We’ve been in the middle of “Being a Homeowner” this week.  Our 3.5 week old fridge died suddenly, and the repair man couldn’t bring it back to life…so we’ve been living out of a cooler and searching for a new one. The first one was from Sears Outlet, and after having it die in less than a month, I was still too scarred to try another one and risk it breaking after the return period.  We found this one at Home Depot:

New Fridge...

Since the last that bit the dust was a Maytag, and Maytags, Whirlpools, Amanas and a few others are all owned by the same company, I decided to stay away from all of those for a few years, just until I could forget the mess.  This LG has gotten great reviews and I like the fridge being on top.

As for recent projects around the house?  I’m working on several posts that have to do with DIY projects and I have a project I’m working on in the house that I can’t wait to get finished.  It includes Chevron.  Please be excited. :)

Decor 101: Decor Friendly Storage Solution – Dog Food Storage

A few weeks after Matt and I married we decided we needed to add to our family, and instead of going the baby route so early on and to stick to the five three year plan for starting our family, we got a sweet little puppy from one of my co-workers. A black border collie mix, whom we named Piper, who was quite the entertainer and we loved having her around.  However, after a few months we felt she might need a “day” companion to keep her company, at which point we decided to adopt dear Peyton, a yellow lab mix (he looks like a miniature yellow lab with a permanent puppy face).  To feed two dogs that are both roughly 37 lbs requires buying dog food in larger quantities than one can fit in a kitchen cupboard.  I faced a dilemma, how to store food attractively AND safely.  We live in the south and although we haven’t had a problem with roaches since the first few weeks of living here (the house was unoccupied for over 6 months), they are quite common down here and they just so happen to love dog food.  I wanted to make sure the food was protected from roaches, obviously because I didn’t want them in my dogs food, and I didn’t want them in the house (ew gross….) – I could live the rest of my life and never see one again.  After the first one we saw we had the house treated and the only ones I’ve seen since have been dead ones around the perimeter of my house.

We considered our storage options.

1.) Trash Can with a Lid Approach.  Doable, wouldn’t look completely out of place but where to put it?  We have one trash can in the only spot one will fit (we tried putting one under the sink and it did not work, it got filled up far too fast and just did not work for us).

2.) Rubbermaid Container.  Most inexpensive.  Best seal.  But…BUT… by far the most unattractive.

3.) Decorative Chest lined with plastic.  Most expensive.  Adequate seal.  Far more attractive and who doesn’t love the idea of hiding something so stinky and atrocious in something pretty?

While we were paying off our (really mine…I brought 17K in school loans to the marriage) debt and following the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover we were really watching our money and silly as this may seem, but the trash can was even out of our budget unless I had been able to score one at a garage sale for a great price.  We ended up going with the highly “glamorous” Rubbermaid container that sat in a corner of the dining room.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  So unattractive.

But then about 10-12 months after paying off our debt (Yippeee!) I found these beautiful wicker/”banana leaf” chests at Target, on sale, for $37.99 a pop.

Image From Target.com "Banana Leaf Trunk"

If we ever don’t have dogs in the future (what a sad day that would be) we could use these for something else.  They are modular and easy to move.  And although they didn’t come lined with plastic, a trip to Home Depot’s paint isle and snagging a heavy plastic painter drop cloth would do the trick.

What I love the most about them is that they add some texture to the living room and no one would ever guess that we have dog food stored within.  Although we were initially afraid one of the dogs would discover they could eat through the wicker to the food…they never have.  We’ve had them for over a year now and they are one of my favorite storage solutions that are decor friendly and don’t ruin the over all look of our home!

Two Banana Leaf Storage Cubes/Benches

I’m always looking for creative solutions like this to help keep my house looking pretty but not losing the functionality that I need in such a small house!

Home Improvement: Master Bathroom Updates

Before Miles was born, I confess, I used a step-ladder.  It was only three steps high, and I was only 20ish weeks pregnant, but I used it none the less.  Miles turned out fine and I didn’t fall, I was super careful in our super tiny master bath.

Our Master bath, as I think I’ve mentioned before, is crazy small, so small that when we first looked at the house my initial reaction was, “Where’s the shower? There’s no bath tub or shower in the Master bath?!” and then I peeked behind the door to see that the door to the bathroom, when open, hides the shower from view…but it’s that small!

So its taken some time, but I’m almost done finishing up what I started in there before Miles was born.  The crown molding needed the nail holes filled and painted, as did the quarter round.  I wanted a new shower curtain and I couldn’t stand the ugly poly-oak vanity (topped with an equally despised white laminate countertop…ugh…).

Here’s a before to refresh your memory:

Master Bath Before 1

Master Bath Before 2

Stripping the wallpaper!!! Took FOREVER.  We tried DIF, the wallpaper claw, newspaper…finally…a little hand steamer did the trick.

Wallpaper goes bye bye....

After hours of patching, sanding, priming, scraping….and all of those fun DIY things….we finally had a half new bath.  Here’s what we did:

1.) Laid new peel and stick tile.

2.) Installed quarter round

3.) Removed wallpaper

4.) Removed popcorn ceiling

5.) Installed Crown Moulding

6.) Painted walls and trim

7.) Painted vanity

8.) Switched to an Ikea circular Mirror to add new dimension to a boxy room

9.) New Shower Curtain

So here are some shots of the bathroom today:

Crown Moulding

New crown moulding installed and a nice smooth ceiling.

Towel Hooks & Little Ledge Shelf

Love these yard sale finds that add so much personality to the space!

Drop Cloth Shower Curtain

While we considered adding a curtain that popped with color, due to the fact this curtain typically gets hidden by the door, I rather liked how much it blends with the wall color and I’m hoping to use some accessories (to come in the next few weeks) to add pop and personality to the space.

Here’s the bottom of the curtain (tutorial to come!):

Bottom of Shower Curtain

And finally, a look at the vanity with the new hardware and a new coat of paint (which needs a little touch up at the bottom after a bad tape job (oops).

Master Bath Vanity

A deep Espresso Brown – love the added color it brings and can I say that I don’t miss the porcelain knobs one bit!!!

Now I just need to add some finishing touches and I’ll be ready to show you my final results!  But I can’t believe what these simple changes have done to make this such a different space.

Decor 101: My Ballard Design Artwork Knock Off

SO I got my latest issue of Ballard Designs and saw these beautiful paintings

Ballard Designs, Custom Soliloquy Giclee Prints (Photo from Ballard Designs)

…and just so happened to have two blank, waiting to be painted panels just sitting around from some past projects.  So the little artist in me was itching to get out and I decided, what the heck, why not.  I don’t mind saving some money and I could really use some new artwork for the living room above the couches and I just loved these paintings from Ballard.

The end result is definitely different than theirs, but I’m loving how the artwork came out.  They look so much better in person, but I couldn’t get my white balance quite perfect so the pictures look a little yellower than I would like and a lot of he detail got lost.  Oh well.

Ballard Knock Offs

Home Improvement: Off with the Ceiling

Three weeks before my little man Miles made his entrance into the world, his daddy and I got the crazy idea to strip the popcorn ceilings in the living room (which has been falling off for three years!), kitchen, dining room and hallways.  Perhaps not the best project to undertake when you are practically popping at 9 months pregnant…oh well.  SO worth it.  We had put off painting the house because we knew we’d have to take the ceilings down one day, and we knew it would be a mess, so we decided the walls would wait until the ceiling was done.  So you can imagine my bliss when I finally was able to paint those drab walls and make them shine with color. Oh. Happy. Day.  :)

Here’s some befores:

Before: Ceiling

Before: Taking it down

Our work table as we worked on our massive project.

Plastic Sheeting in Living Room

Almost Done

After: Dining Room

After: Dining Room #2

Peyton Enjoying his sunspot in the the newly painted living room!

so pretty

We’re in love with the results! SO glad we did it!

My little man…

Here’s a look at the new man in my life…who new you could love someone so much!?

I know I’m biased…but isn’t he the cutest!?

New Years Resolutions and Project Goals

This past month, while I intended to post frequently during my Maternity Leave, turned out to be quite the uh, lets say “adventure”?  I had my sweet baby boy on November 20th, a dream labor, delivery, everything.  A week later I was back at the hospital hemorrhaging – after that scary stint I was for sure I was done with the whole hospital stay…only to land BACK at the hospital again at the end of December because my appendix called it quits.  So, I’ve been busy recovering, rather constantly, for the past few weeks…but since I am still not allowed to lift over 10 lbs and am supposed to find time to rest frequently, I decided to take a few minutes to finally post something to my dear little neglected blog.

I know everyone is posting about their New Year Resolutions – so I figured I’d share some of mine:

1.) “Bite” My Nail Biting Habit – I have a little boy who will be looking up to me as an example, and this disgusting habit, and embarassing one I might add, is not one I would relish sharing with Miles. So this is a top priority.

2.) Blog at least once a week.  I really would like to post more, but I need to start small and I know I can handle 52 blog posts a year – lets hope that being a new mommy, working part-time, and trying to jump start my etsy shop won’t hinder this too much.

3.) Make my relationship with the Lord the priority it should be.  Since graduating from college I’ve let my relationship with the Lord take the back burner, and clearly this just doesn’t work well, and Matt and I both are going to read through the Bible entirely this year so here’s to a little extra accountability.

4.) Organize and Clean out each room and closet so that it is maintainable.  Hopefully I will post room/closet by room/closet, and show how I’m doing it, and this time next year we can discuss its success or failure?

5.)  Landscape the yard, put in a brick path from the sidwalk to the back yard, add some flower beds around the trees and add a permanent perimeter around the current beds so they are easier to maintain aesthetically.

6.) Build a window seat with storage for the living room window and for the office window, perhaps for Miles room too.

7.) Build two leaning ladder bookcases

8.) Use our receipt system and budget

9.) Make/DIY artwork for above the couches and above the sideboard

10.) Take pictures of Miles every month

11.) Lose 15-20 lbs (depends on how much I weigh now, which I’m too reluctant to find out yet, but I’m pretty sure they will make me at my 6 week OB appointment this week – UGH)

12.) Run at least a half marathon – not sure if I can train for a Marathon this year, maybe next year.

 

Be nice….but don’t have to do:

13.) Build office furniture so Matt and I can both work in the office at the same time

14.) Build  a new bed and fix bedroom armoire

15.) Paint the kitchen cupboards

16.) Install new countertop

17.) Paint and/or replace the fridge

18.) Start a blog about how to “buy” nice presents for next to nothing….any interest and I might try?

 

I think that’s good for now ;)

Here’s to a new year with lots of “little” projects!


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