4.03.2014

Bringing The Outdoors In


Spring is here in full force.  Perennials are coming up in our yard and trees are flowering.  On the days when we aren't having hurricane force winds, it's quite beautiful.
I haven't had time for any projects around the house lately.  This is usually a super busy time of year for me at my job, and there are always a lot of events towards the end of the school year for us to attend.  This year will be especially busy since this is Jacob's last year of elementary school and Olivia's last year of middle school.  Sob.
One thing I have been doing though, is making sure to pick some of the beautiful blooms off of some of the trees and shrubs in our neighborhood.  I shamelessly pluck branches off of trees growing in medians or parks, when I'm out walking.  Yes.  I am that crazy lady.
It's so worth it though, to have them in the house.  Makes me smile every time I see them when I walk into a room.
I even put some in my bathroom (to try to distract myself from the not-so-pretty laminate counter tops).  I dream of a herringbone Carrera marble backsplash and white quartz counter tops in here.  Until then, these pretty white delicate blossoms will have to do.
In my bedroom, I cut some branches off of my sister Margaret's forsythia bush.
I love the pop of yellow against the blue gray Behr Light French Gray painted walls.  They're like sunshine in a vase. :)
I used to have some coral tulips growing in my yard.  But, I think a certain furry, four legged, family member may be responsible for trampling them down?  Certainly, it couldn't be Bocce?  Not with that innocent face. ;)
Until I can plant some more this fall, I've been taking advantage of the lovely tulips at Trader Joe's.  I got these for the living room.
I love how they pick up the coral in the couch pillows.

Is anyone else out there as crazy about fresh flowers as I am?

Have a wonderful day!





3.22.2014

Reevaluating


At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. One of them was that I was going to post one to two times a week.  Up until recently, I've done pretty well with this.  It's not always easy for me to find the time to do projects, photograph them, edit the photos and then blog about them.  But, it's a creative process that I enjoy so I've tried to make it a priority.

Making my home projects and blogging a priority has come at a cost though because it cuts into other things in my life that are also important.  One of those things has been spending time with the people that I love.  My kids. My family.  My friends.

My ex-husband and I split the weekend with our kids so they spend half of it with him and half of it with me.  That means that one day of my weekend is dedicated to grocery shopping, bill paying, house cleaning, errand running and squeezing in a blog project.  Rather impossible.  So a lot of time, these chores or house projects creep into the day I'm supposed to be spending time with my kids.

So, I have to ask myself, when my kids are grown and gone, am I going to look back and wish that I had done more home projects and blogged more?  Or, will I look back and wish that I had been more fully present and savored every moment with them?  Will it matter so much that I made the time to paint my kitchen cabinets white, or will I wish that I had played Monopoly with my kids?  Or taken them hiking, or to the park to play with Bocce, or up to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe?

I do want to paint my kitchen cabinets white and there are a whole lot of other things that I'd like to do in my house.  But, I don't want those things to be more important than the people in my life.  My kids.  My family.  My friends.  And, I feel like since I started my blog, my home projects have taken priority over people.

Two people that I know passed away recently.  One was the mother of one of my clients.  A lovely woman who was a strong advocate for her disabled son.  She contacted me to let me know that she was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I spoke with her on a Friday about what her wishes were for her son.  It was one of the most difficult conversations that I've ever had because I knew that essentially, I was telling her "goodbye."  In our conversation, she expressed regret about having lived in another city than her son and not having been able to be more involved with him because of it.  I reassured her that she had been a good Mom to him, that she was more involved than many parents I work with, and that she had been a good advocate for him.  She thanked me for telling her this.  She passed away the next Monday. I was sorry that she had this sense of regret at the end of her life.  It is something that I don't want to have because I have always tried to put my kids first.

Last week, my family had to say goodbye to my brother-in-law's Mother.  We all knew her as "Gram".  She was 92 and had been sick for some time and was in a rehab facility.  She had not been able to come to family get togethers for some time and she had been missed already.  Gram was a tiny woman, probably all of four feet ten inches tall and 80 pounds soaking wet.  She was so tiny that she was able to wear a pair of children's sandals.  You know, the kind that have lights in the soles that light up when you walk?  She was as feisty as she was sweet and she lit up a room with her smile.  She was kind and considerate and always remembered my children's birthdays with a card or a little gift.  Gram used to read The Night Before Christmas for all the kids in our family while each of them passed around a white elephant gift whenever she read the word "and".

While Gram was in the rehab facility, I kept telling Olivia and Jacob that we needed to go and visit her.  She loved kids.  She also loved our dog, Bocce.  I wanted to take Bocce with us to see her and thought he would cheer her up.  Then, I would get busy with work, life, chores, my projects, my blog, whatever.

We never did go and visit her, which I deeply regret because I would have liked to have seen her one last time, even if she didn't remember us.  I also regret not setting a better example for my kids.  An example of putting people before things.  People before busyness.
via Pinterest
I've struggled with whether I should continue blogging or quit altogether because of the amount of time it takes.  What I've finally decided is to say, "screw it" to my original goal of trying to post once or twice a week.  Instead, I'm going to post when I can.  I'll post after we've gone to the park, after we've played a board game, after we've gone to spend some time just hanging out with my Mom, after I've gone out to lunch with a friend.

I know that posting irregularly isn't supposed to be good for my SEO (search engine optimization) or blog stats, yada, yada, yada.  But, it's the best I can do at this time in my life, without giving it up completely, without compromising the time I have with the people I love.  The kitchen cabinets will be there.  They'll get painted eventually.  The projects will get done eventually.  I'll post about them eventually.

The people I want to appreciate right now.
via Pinterest
So, I appreciate your understanding.  I appreciate those of you who are following along and hope that you will continue to do so.



3.13.2014

A new scarf...for our living room chair


We've been having some really gorgeous spring weather here.  Usually we have a really nice February and then March and April are very windy.  February was unusually warm and all of the trees started to flower and bud out.  It's been in the mid-60's up into the 70's, at times, and hasn't been super windy (hope I didn't just jinx it).  It's really put me into the mood to start decorating for spring.

I found a beautiful black and white scarf on eBay.  It's actually more of a shawl, but it was advertised as a scarf.  When I saw it, I fell in love with it.  Since I love to repurpose things, I figured I could use it somewhere in the living room.

While I loved the fall/winter look on our leather club chair, I decided to try it out here.  I was immediately smitten!
At first, I didn't want to put a pillow on the chair because I loved all of the details of the scarf.  Like the horizontal stripes on the edges and the knotted fringes.


But then, I put one of the Chang Mai pillows on it, because I love the combination of graphic black and white with a colorful floral.  It still allows the details of the scarf to show.  Love.
I still need to reposition the butterfly picture.  It's a thank you note from my Mom that I framed.  I put it on this spot on the wall to cover up the hole from the swing arm wall sconce that used to be here. :)  I still haven't patched and painted it.  I'm still deciding whether or not I want more art work on the wall over here, or if I just want to have the butterfly picture.  I am going to put a little plant on the white ceramic stool to add a little more life and color over here.
I love the balance of the masculine chair with the feminine pillow.  I'm loving this little spots new spring look.

Have you done any decorating for spring yet?  Hope you have a great day.

Linking up here:


3.11.2014

Laundry Room Chandelier {DIY}


Hi Everyone!  I wanted to show you the chandelier that I recently put up in the laundry room.  Out of all the things in the laundry room that I've done, this is actually what I'm most excited about, and it's because I wired it all by myself!

I've always wanted to learn to install lighting, but I don't know, things like fear of electrocuting myself and leaving my children motherless, or fear of blowing the house up, or fear of blowing out all of the electrical in the house and then having to shell out big bucks to get it fixed, always held me back.
Usually, if I have a DIY project to do that I haven't done before, I call my sister, Michelle, to help me.  She can do anything, fix anything, or figure anything out.  She's the handiest woman I know.  Like most of us, she's also very busy, and has her own projects that she's working on.  So, I decided to put on my big girl panties and figure out how to do it myself.

I started with a brass chandelier that I got at ReStore for $7.50.  I liked that it wasn't overly ornate and knew that it would provide a lot of light into our laundry room that has no windows.

I cleaned it up and taped off the electrical parts.
Two coats of Rustoleum's silver metallic spray paint were all it took to make the chandelier look modern.  
I'm always impressed with how smooth the finish is with Rustoleum spray paints.  

I wasn't happy about the fact that I had to swag the light because the original light wasn't centered in the room.  I'm not quite ready to tackle moving a light box though, so swag it was.
To wire the chandelier, I did invest in this tool.  Because we have a lot of ugly lighting that I'm hoping to replace.
And, I could not have done it without Brittany's excellent tutorial over at Pretty Handy Girl.  I'm telling you, if you've every wanted to be able to install lights, it is so much easier than you think.  If I can do it (and not electrocute myself or burn down the house) then you can too!
I really love the way it looks.  Even though I'm already thinking that I'll eventually move it into my closet when I get around to fixing that up (did you just call me "fickle"?).  I am super excited that I now have some basic electrical wiring skills and can replace all of the ugly, builder grade lighting in our house.  

I've got one more laundry room project to finish up, and then I'm hoping to show you the whole room.  All 36 square feet of it. ;)  

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Linking this project up at these great blogs: Green Willow Pond, The New York Melrose Family


2.27.2014

97 Cent Spray Paint


If you're like me and you like to change things up in your home a lot, then I know that you'll appreciate a cheap source for spray paint.  You may have seen this Quick Color spray paint at Home Depot?  Or, maybe you didn't notice it because of it's unassuming packaging?  Not to mention that It's usually stocked on the very bottom shelf in the spray paint section.  I've even found it sitting in unopened boxes on the floor.
It only comes in black and white.  There are no fancy paint names here either like, Ebony Nights or Vanilla Cream Latte (that does sound yummy though doesn't it?).  Just black and white.  Like the caps indicate.
It also only comes in two finishes.  Gloss or flat.  No egg shell, no shellac, no super high gloss.  Just your basic gloss or flat.
Each can has 10 ounces, whereas, most of the other fancier, more expensive spray paints have 12 ounces.  You still get more bang for your buck though since you could get three cans, or 30 ounces, for three bucks, instead of one can, or 12 ounces, at three plus bucks, for the fancier spray paints.
It also doesn't have any sort of fancy sprayer.  Just your basic spray paint nozzle. I've used all sorts of spray paints and despite it's lack of a fancy sprayer, the Quick Color spray paint has about one of the most even sprays and paint applications that I've found.
I used the gloss white for the DIY ironing board holder that I wrote about in my last post.
And, I've used the flat black on lots of picture frames in my house.  Like this frame for a pin board that I made recently (and haven't blogged about).

You might think, from this glowing review, that Quick Color paid me a boat load of money, or promised to supply me with a lifetime of all the black and white spray paint I could ever use?  Sadly, they did not.  I simply wanted to let you in on a great deal on some really good spray paint that you might not have even noticed.

So, run right out and buy yourself some cheap spray paint and paint something!  You know you want to.  :)




2.25.2014

Ironing Board Holder {DIY}


This hasn't been the best month for us.  I swear ever since the 5th grade when I broke my wrist in P.E. on Valentine's Day (and missed the party) I've been cursed around this time of year.  All three of us have been sick.  Even Bocce seems to have a cold, or allergies, or something?  Poor Olivia has been sick twice.  To top it all off, our garage door broke down and I had to have some unexpected repairs done on my car.  I'll be really glad when this month is over.

Despite all of this, I've been making slow and steady progress in the laundry room.  I wanted to make an ironing board holder to show off our pretty ironing board cover.

I started out with a small cabinet door that I got for $1 at ReStore and primed and painted it white.
 I got two of these coat hooks in a nickel finish for about $3 each at Home Depot.


I used a level to make sure that I was lining up the hooks evenly.  Then I attached them to the door.  I also used the level to mark where I was going to drill the holes to attach it to the wall.  Since there were no studs in the wall where I was attaching it, I used toggle bolts.


Then, I painted over the toggle bolt heads so that they weren't so obvious.
I also made sure that I put the toggle bolts where they would be covered by the ironing board.  You could also counter sink your holes, but I have yet to get a countersink drill bit.  It doesn't bother me that they show because they'll be covered by the ironing board, which only gets used a couple of times a year anyway. :)
Sorry about the poor photo quality.  There is no natural light in the laundry room and I'm having a difficult time getting good pictures in there.
This was a really easy project to do.  You could also use a longer door with more hooks to make an inexpensive coat rack that you can customize to any specific look that you want.

I'll be back with more updates on the laundry room soon.  I'm almost finished in here so I'm excited to show you all the details!

Thanks for reading today.  Have a good one!

Linking this project up to these great blogs:  Green Willow Pond, The New York Melrose Family

2.18.2014

Forcing Daffodil Bulbs {DIY}


While the East Coast has been slammed with record snows and freezing temps, it's been ridiculously warm here.  People are running around in shorts enjoying our 70 degrees plus.  It feels more like April than February, and it's gotten me in the mood for Spring.

I've been working on adding more decor in the living room and I'm trying to use things that I already have.  Last Fall, I had gotten some daffodils, one of my favorite flowers, to plant in my yard.  Well, they never got planted and the bag has been sitting in my garage.  I decided that I'd try to force some of them and the rest I'm going to still plant outside.

I already had the great black and white pot and the moss.

I made sure that the bulbs weren't dried out before I planted them, otherwise, they're pretty much dead and you won't get any blooms.  I'm not sure if these will bloom or not, since they've been sitting around for so long.  We'll see!
You don't necessarily need soil to force bulbs.  They just need water, drainage and sunlight.  So, I added some pea gravel from the yard for drainage.
I put three bulbs on top of the rocks and then put some more rocks around them to stabilize them.
I watered the bulbs then moistened the moss and put it on top.  This will help keep the daffodil bulbs moist and adds a little pop of green to the room.

Do you remember the little piping plover (aka thrift store duck) from this post?
Well, he's going on this table along with the pot of daffodils.
I also added some fresh flowers for some color until the daffodils bloom.

How's the weather where you are?  Are you snowed in or enjoying a false Spring like we are here?  I'd love to hear about it, leave me a comment below and let me know.

Thanks for reading today.