Monday, July 30, 2012

Need Help with Decorating or Organizing?

 I love the process of decorating, the brainstorming, figuring out how to accomplish it, shopping (home or stores), executing it and enjoying it. I know there are some out there think this is a frivolous activity, not worthwhile, etc., but I disagree. This is a creative outlet, a form of art for me. I also like to take care of the home I've been blessed with. I am happier when my home is in order and a relaxing place to be. And I love beauty and since I'm a SAHM this is where I spend the most time and I want it to be beautiful.

While I love decorating my home and sharing the process here for everyone to see, it's started to not be enough. I've been spending some time lately helping my mom decorate her home. After 30+ years with children at home and most of her furniture and pictures and decorations worn or out of date, she needed help. I've had the time and an eye for decorating (I am by no means on par with the professionals!), so we've been shopping and brainstorming as she's had money (no kids at home = $$)
I 've really enjoyed the process with her. I'll suggest ideas and we go from there, seeing what she's drawn to and talking about the where or how.

Decorating and organizing are things I'm passionate about and they go hand in hand. But I love to focus on bargain decorating and organizing. I don't spend thousands of dollars working on my home, I look for inexpensive ways to get what I want: painting, hand-me-downs, Craigslist, Goodwill, shopping my own home, garage sales and saving up for bigger items.

So, all of that said, I'd like to offer my help to anyone out there. I want to help others that have no idea where to start or need someone to throw out ideas. I want to share inexpensive ideas that I've used to make my home what I want it to be, beautiful, comfortable, relaxing and just our style.
This offer is FREE!

If you would like my help with decorating a room or organizing a space, please email me at: and send some pictures of your space and some info.

As I get some emails, I'll share ideas here and, with consent, share spaces.

If you have questions about specific problems feel free to comment or email and I'll work on answering those questions to help.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bathroom Redo

Here's the finished product.

I've tried, since moving into this house, to make this bathroom a pretty room. But I've failed miserably for years! It had 1980's 8x8" white tiles on the floor. And can I just say that white tile floors in a bathroom, especially with a little boy, was a bad idea.
Here's some before pics.

The cabinet had been painted white when we moved in and the countertop is some type of stone in white. So the room was way too white in a bad way. After painting it a few times it just wasn't working. So I came up with a plan and begged my sweet hubby to work on it with me.

First up was replacing the floor. We used a wood looking vinyl tile. That sounds kind of ugly but it's not at all. We have it in the kitchen, dinning room and hall and I love it! It's easy to install, looks like wood, is easy to clean, soft underfoot and inexpensive. So we carried it into the bathroom. It instantly warmed the space up. I am not a tile floor fan, so this made it feel comfortable.

Next I painted the walls. Well actually, David demoed the floor and then I painted and then he installed the floor. I picked a soft blue from Lowes called: Dockside Blue
Ok so next after that.
I love the look of trim work, a good classic look. So we installed breadboard around the room. It's small so it didn't take much, but made a HUGE impact! Which I loved immediately.

The cabinet, counter and faucet/sink all stayed the same. However I did repaint the original mirror frame. I don't love the frame but I'm not ready to make a new one yet, so I sprayed it with oil rubbed bronze, ORB. On the towel wall I kept the towel hooks, but got new towels, and new frames (Walmart) and sprayed those ORB as well.

The art in them I found at NY Public Library, which has digital copies of tons of art and prints. I just printed them out on some white card stock and framed them. I love the soft colors, and water scenes.

The shower curtain is the same one I've had for many years and still loved. But at the currant height it was making the room feel squatty. So I decided to raise the bar as high as I could and I found some fabric that I sewed to the bottom of my curtain.

I LOVE the way it looks! It makes the room feel bigger and adds some pattern.

Since this is the bathroom David uses to get ready in, the stuff on the counter is all for him. The basket on the right holds his colognes, deodorant and shaving cream. The box on the left is a goodwill find. I sprayed it with ORB and put a piece of felt on the bottom to hold his watches and other misc jewelry.

This room was such a huge payoff. It looks and feels like a whole new room and we love how it turned out!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Master Bedroom Finished!!!

I left off with freshly painted walls. And I've since done what feels like a million things to get it finished.

I'm just going to take you around the room and explain what I did.
-Vanity wall-
I recovered the vanity bench.
I spray painted the handles on the vanity drawers. I didn't care for the brassy dark original handles and the pulls aren't a standard size so I either needed to do a special order (=$$$) or spray paint. I'm not in love with how they turned out but I can live with it until I want to pay for new ones.
I painted the jewelry box the same color as the dresser (more on that in a minute).

I painted/stained the small table. I've seen this look on blogs and pinterest and really loved it and wanted to try it out. The table top was in great shape but the color was a bit too orangy/red. I sanded the top until all the old finish was gone. Then I taped off/bagged the top and sprayed the base white and then stained the top. When it was dry I waxed the top to protect it. I LOVE IT!
I added ribbon on the inside of the lampshade to cover the unfinished edges and give it a little something. It's very subtle but I like it.
I sewed a new pillow cover. I went through a few fabrics trying to find the right amount of pattern but one that wasn't overwhelming in the soft atmosphere I'd created. I think this one is just right.

-Dresser Wall-

This dresser has been a pain in the butt since we've had it. It's a family piece but I don't like the shape of it and those bottom drawers a a royal pain to paint. Add to that I repainted it only a year ago and I hated it and was dreading another repaint. (I've painted this dresser 5 times total in 12 years....) Up till the week before I was going to paint it, I wanted it a dark teal color but I saw a paint chip in this green and knew it was the one. I knew it would play off the wall color beautifully and I'm actually in love with this dresser! And the glass knobs from Hobby Lobby are perfect! I've painted furniture for many years but never the correct way. This time I was determined to do it right. Sanded most of the last color off, patched, primed, painted coat 1 & 2, waxed for protection and not rushing through steps. I allowed adequate cure time and it made all the difference! I also used Sherwin Williams paint which was recommend and I was very pleased with it.
This is the tutorial I followed on how to paint furniture.

The pearly vase I got at Target after looking at it every time I went in, and convincing my mom to buy it as well! I love it!
The wood tray I found at Goodwill. I have no idea what it really is but this is how I'm using it!
The blue bowl I found at TJ Maxx.
I added ribbon trim to the plant cover.
After seeing the dresser dressed up, I nixxed the electronic cover. I got a smaller, cream colored clock and arranged everything so it looked better. I absolutely LOVE looking at this area when I'm in bed.

-Bed Wall-
I painted the nightstands at the same time I did the dresser (it was a long week....). And I'm very pleased with how they turned out as well!
This one is mine, I have a basket of oils and a container of granola (for before bed!)
The lamps are the same but I covered the shades and added ribbon trim. If you look too close they look a bit questionable and at night when they are one the original design on the shades shines through but I don't care. Until I'm ready to track down and pay for new shades these will do just fine!
I made new pillow shams with this fabric that drove the color pallet.
I made a newish bed skirt. I took my old one and cut the brown fabric off (after measuring it for the new). Then sewed on new panels using a Walmart twin sheet (the same as the liner fabric on my curtains).
The green throw pillow is one I already had around the house. I was having a hard time finding a fabric/pillow that I liked and looked good so this is taking the spot for now.

-art wall-

These pics are hard to photograph, so sorry for the glares and weird angles. This is what's on the wall on the window wall. The big pic was taken almost 2 years ago but it's a great one. The other is a wedding photo that I turned black and white. The small frame on top is a Wordle that I created using words that are meaningful to us, printed on some blue card stock. The frame on the right is lyrics from a song David wrote me for our 10th anniversary.

Before and Afters

Amazing how much brighter, more life is in this room now!

I am SO happy with how the room evolved and I love it! This time, I took my time and tackled one thing at a time and then evaluated it adjusting things as I went. I LOVE it! It's soft, relaxing, light, beautiful and comfortable. It's a HUGE change from where I started. And David loves it too!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trey's Play Kitchen

So, last Christmas I was reading Young House Love, on of my blogs, and they had made their daughter a play kitchen for Christmas. I loved how theirs turned out and told David that it would be great to do for Trey for his birthday. I pinned it and then in May we started talking about it again.

Trey LOVES to help Daddy in the kitchen and often wants to play with his tools, bowls and utensils. He had a few things but given his love for "cookin stuff" we really loved the idea of making him his own kitchen.

Now I realize we could have gone to Toys R Us and picked up the only non-girly plastic kitchen and he would have loved it just the same but I wouldn't have. I have a serious dislike for plastic toys. I wanted this kitchen to last through many children and be durable and well, look good.

Here's how it turned out.

We followed the tutorial (linked above) and went to our local Habitat for Humanity Resale Store and I found this cabinet. This was the only one that had enough space to work, wasn't too big and didn't cost me too much.
You can see the scale here and we flipped the thing over, because it made more sense to us.
We used scraps of stuff we had on hand: plywood, 2x4's, wood knobs, hook, paint and trim. We bought: lots of screws the correct length, plexi glass, a trivet turned stove top, wire racks and other misc hardware.

I also used a pencil/pen holder I had that wasn't being used and sprayed it blue to use as a utensil holder and I had an old wood cutting board that was my grandmother's. I just sanded it down and oiled it to make it look better. The hook on the side was an old brass one I had that got sprayed red along with the knobs that my friend gave me from an old project of hers.

So that's what we did and if you want the full run down on how to make one yourself, check out their tutorial.

To outfit this kitchen we visited our local Dollar Tree to get him real cooking supplies: brownie pan, pie pan, muffin pan, measuring cups and utensils. The skillet and small pot with lid came from our Chinese grocery store which carries restaurant supplies, so they are real, sturdy and they were inexpensive. The timer was from Ikea.

The dishes were mine as a child and still work great even if strawberries aren't quite in style with 4 year old boys! They will work for now and I love watching him play with something I played with. The food and birthday cake were a birthday present. They are wood pieces and has real food similar to what we eat. I noticed that other plastic sets of food included tons of junk food like boxed meals, donuts and other things we don't eat. So I like that he's playing with things we eat.

Here's how it looks in his room.

I still need to get something on that wall! I'll get to it eventually!

I'm showing this again to show that I made some new curtains for the window. It used to have some blinds and a sort of valance. I loved the fabric that was on the valance but the room needed a change. I am starting to hate blinds and I was noticing that this room gets a LOT of morning light. So we needed some curtains that blocked that. Taking the blinds out let in more light, which I love during the day, and I can see the yard better.

So there's Trey's 4th birthday gift from us. We had a blast creating it especially when it came to all the details. It's not perfect but we're ok with that and he LOVES it which is what really matters!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Recipe: Healthy Garden Tomato Pasta

This recipe is mine adapted from something out of a Giada cookbook. She doesn't even name it, just suggests things to put in for a light pasta. So here's what I came up with.

                                                         Garden Tomato Pasta
This is a super easy pasta, so incrediably flavorful and healthy! Oh and cheap too! I've been eating this about twice a week lately because it's so good and I LOVE pasta! When I say recipe I use that word loosly, it's more of a guideline. I've been making this just for myself (for lunch or when David is at school) so this is for one serving. Just put in how much you'd like of each ingredient.

 I say garden tomato because all the tomatoes and basil are from my backyard! I just go out and pick whatever is ripe and cut some basil. We are growing red, yellow, purple and white cherry/grape tomatoes and they make this meal look so pretty and lots of different tomato flavors.

pasta (angel hair is my favorite)
butter (I mean REAL butter, you need it for the flavor the real stuff provides & it's better for you)
shredded parmasan cheese
fresh basil (dried would probably be just fine but the fresh helps make it feel more fresh)

put the water on to boil, when it's ready throw in your pasta and salt the water.
While the pasta is cooking, chop your basil and cut the tomatoes in half. I throw everything into my bowl that I'm eating out of.
Cut up about a tablespoon of butter and throw it in.
When the pasta is done put it in your bowl, stir to melt the butter and coat the pasta, add pepper and parm.
 You could add some spinach to this as well, or any other garden fresh veggies if you wanted more than tomatoes. Tomatoes are probably my favorite food so I put them in everything. And can I just say that tomatoes right from the vine is like a little bit of heaven!

Ok, so make this then come back and tell me about it!
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Painting the Master Bedroom

After having painted swatches up for a few weeks, I finally got our bedroom painted! Yeah! This isn't going to be a wordy post, because frankly talking about how I painted a wall is boring and a million other bloggers have discussed in detail how to do it properly.

I was very nervous about the color, it's a bolder color than I usually am drawn to but I LOVE it! Our bedroom gets a lot of light, it's a decent size and I was only painting the top 2/3 of the walls so I figured it could handle the darker, bolder color. After living with it a few days/nights I know I made the right decision.

I know I wouldn't like this color if I didn't have (and plan to have) a lot of white in the room as a contrast and to add the lightness back into the room. After painting the room, I knew I couldn't put up the existing curtains back up (or rod). I wasn't planning on making any decisions on the curtains until the color was on the wall and I could make a better decision.

I decided pretty quickly that I wanted white curtains and I already knew which rod I wanted (the same as in my dinning and living rooms). I headed to wal-mart and picked up 2 of each white and grey twin sized flat sheets. The quick version is I measured how long I wanted them, cut the excess off the bottom of the sheets, sewed a white and a grey sheet together on 3 sides (not the cuff part which I wanted open at the bottom), flipped them inside out, then top stitched the edges with some grey thread. Done! I bought some clips and hung them up.

I lined the white with grey to give them more volume, to help keep the light out and it brings in some more color so the white isn't so plain. I like that when they are open I can see some of the grey peeking around the edge, it looks great with the walls. I'll take better pis of them later, they haven't even been ironed yet, so I'll get there soon!

Ok, so that's 2 more things checked off the bedroom list. Here's a rundown of what's left to do.

*Paint dresser and change knobs
*Paint nightstands (probably a grey)
*Change lampshades somehow (I really want white with colored trim, we'll see what happens)
*Sew bed skirt (have the fabric, just need to do it)
*Sew pillow shams
*Sew throw pillow covers
*Recover fabric on vanity bench
*Paint/Stain small table
*Hang art on left side of bed
*Repaint jewelry box
*Paint vanity handles
*Install window trim
*Maybes: change out the blinds for some sheers
                 frame the print by the chair

I think that's it but we'll see. I know it seems like a ton to do, but most of the projects are small.
Oh, and here's a quick before and after for you.

The room feels so much fresher and more modern and not boring. And FYI, the bottom wall color hasn't changed. Isn't it amazing what some paint can do?!

So, what do you think about the color? Do you like bold colors or neutral?

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Monday, April 30, 2012

New Skirts

Back in January I bought a lot of fabric to make some clothes with. This last month I've finally been able to spend some time making some skirts. I'd found 2 tutorials on some of my sewing blogs and was excited to make them. They both offered me a chance to try something new in sewing.

One of my goals this year is to make more clothes. I spent last year making curtains, pillow covers, quilts and purses so I really want to learn more about making clothes. Skirts are definitely the easiest thing to make and with summers being so hot and my desire to have comfy clothes they are my first choice.

So the first one I made is called a Shirred Pocket Skirt. It's roomy, comfy and looked cute and simple enough to make. I've never made anything with pockets and never done shirring before but they were pretty easy. She explains how to sew the elastic thread but my sewing machine (Brother) seems to be very different when it comes to using it. I had to do some YouTube searches and google searches before I finally found something that explained how to use elastic thread on a Brother machine. If anyone is interested let me know in the comments and I'll track the info down again.

So, I've made 3 so far. Although the first one I made I measured myself wrong and ended up making it way too big and due to the design I couldn't alter it without starting completely over, so I sent it to Goodwill. But the other 2 I can wear!

On this purple one, I wanted to try bias tape for the first time and grey just seemed the natural choice for me. I love how it turned out! Here's a close up of the shirring and pocket detail.

Here's the other. My favorite!
I fell in love with this fabric and when I figured out how to make this skirt, I knew I had to make one using this fabric. I used a grey/blue thread, that I thought looks great with the green, it gives it a bit of contrast. And I while cutting pocket pieces I didn't cut enough and ended up not having enough fabric so I had to improvise. I found some white fabric scraps and it's on the inside of the pockets. It actually turned out looking pretty good, thank goodness!
 Here's a close up of the shirring and pocket detail.

The other skirt is a short maxi skirt. In the original tutorial she made the skirt long, but I want these for summer and when it's 100 degrees outside I want a short, cool skirt. Although I think I'd like to make a couple long ones eventually to wear in the fall or spring.

This skirt used knit fabric and while I've started a knit dress I hadn't finished it yet, so I've never finished anything using knit fabric. I was excited to sew with knit because it's super comfy and I like how it drapes. Her tutorial was so easy, and once I figured out my own pattern I could make one in less than an hour.

I made 4 but the first one (which always seems the case) was too small and I didn't cut the fabric correctly. My tip with knit fabric is to look at which way it stretches. For these skirts I wanted the stretch to be horizontal not vertical.

This one is made with a good weight grey.

This pink knit has sparkles in it! It's the same weight as the grey but not quite as soft as the grey. While I do love the comfort of the skirt and having a color, I'm kind of stumped about what color shirt to wear with it, which explains the white. So if any one has any suggestions please share!
Here's an idea of what the waistband looks like. It's like a yoga pant waistband.

This is a tencel blue knit and it feels like butter! It's the softest of the bunch and super light, which is also why it's see-through! This one will either be an at home only skirt or I'll have to add another layer to it. And this grey tank needs to be hemmed, I have a short torso.

Please excuse the paleness of my skin, I'm hoping to get some sun soon....
I made both skirts using my serger and sewing machine, but they can be made using just a sewing machine. The serger just gives a more professional finish and helps with stretch. I really liked using the serger on the skirts it was really easy.

These are the most comfortable skirts I've ever worn and I LOVE them! I can't wait for more warm weather to wear these skirts more! I can't wait to make more, but I need some more fabric!

All the knit fabric I bought from
The purple flower cotton fabric I bought at Wal-mart
The green cotton fabric I bought at

I don't remember the brands or names of the fabric, sorry!

So what do you think? And any ideas on what color top to wear with the pink one?
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