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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Valentine Spark

Hopefully I'm coming out of the January slump I've been in. I spent the day sprucing up the house for Valentine's Day and getting a little crafty. It's a start.

I started with the shelf in the kitchen. I decided to use the heart banner that I made last year and it just kind of went from there.

I find that as I "steal" items from one part of the house, then I work on filling in that empty space. So often it is total chaos as I move things around. For example, I took the ironstone pitcher with greenery in it from off the TV cabinet and moved it to the kitchen shelf. Once I got things how I wanted them on the shelf, I moved back to the living room to work on the TV cabinet.

I spent a little time working on this little chalkboard that I made a couple years ago from a plastic "silver" tray from the Dollar Tree. I kept it simple.



I spent some time making a new banner for the living room. I had a couple banner kits from Target and I just personalized them with my own hugs and kisses.



It's very simple, but I have to admit.....I kind of love it.
So then I just went around the rest of the room sprinkling some red and some hearts here and there.





I'm happy for something a little different. You know how I love to change things up around here.

How about you? Do you feel like you're finally breaking out of the January doldrums? Got any Valentine d├ęcor going on?

If you'd like to see our house decked out for Valentine's Day last year, you can click HERE.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Filling Up The Creative Tank

Hello Friends!

I've been wanting to post something here to show you that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I wanted to tell you that I was making great progress on one of my 2015 home goals. But nothing has even been started, sadly. (I even thought of a couple more things that I forgot to put on the list!) I woke up with a cold on Monday morning that has thrown me, my energy, and my creativity for a loop. I even tried this morning to come up with a Four Things For Friday post....but I didn't even have enough for that!

What is it about January? I find that all I really want to do is wrap up with a blanket and something warm to drink and just TRY to keep warm. I think that all the creativity that I use to make Christmas special just totally zaps my "creativity tank" too.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. (Read Sal's post today!)

Maybe January is just meant to be a refueling time. 'Ya think?

One thing that is helping me refuel is the free course that Jeanne Oliver is offering on her site called Becoming | The Unfolding Of You.

This course (and I use that term loosely, because it's really just a video can watch at your convenience, no homework) has been a blessing to me the last two weeks. There will be about 20 ladies sharing over 8 weeks. They each share in a video their story about becoming  their unique self in Christ and then each one also shares a creative project video as well.

Here is a link to what Jeanne herself had to say about Becoming | The Unfolding Of You.

If you are struggling through the month of January like I am, I think it will be such an encouragement to you.....both in your spiritual walk and in your creativity.

Today is the completion of Week Two, but it's not too late to jump right in because, as I said, you can watch whenever you like. There is no cost.(Thank you Jeanne!) You simply have to go to the site and register and then "JOIN" this specific course. It's that easy.

If you are feeling like your tank is a little empty right now, I hope you will take advantage of this wonderful resource!

You can even watch while wrapped up in a blanket, drinking a warm cup of something! Trust me, I know.
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Playroom Update: The Furniture Story

This little playroom update is LONG overdue. I've been wanting to share this story with you since around Thanksgiving time, but then the Christmas season arrived and it just didn't feel like the right time.


So.....Back in the Fall, Hubster finally gave the official thumbs up to buying a new couch for the playroom. A couple days before Thanksgiving, he took the day off work and we made the two-hour trip to our closest IKEA store. I had IKEA's Ektorp love seat and chaise in my mind from the beginning of the playroom project and that's what we decided to go with.

We left as soon as the kids were on the bus for school, made the drive, and arrived in plenty of time to get some 99 cent breakfast. That's Hubster's favorite part. And I don't mind starting the shopping adventure with that if it keeps him happy. Haha!

My Instagram photos help tell the story.



After breakfast, we headed to the showroom floor. The sofas were all at the beginning of the IKEA trail (If you've been to an IKEA you know what I mean.) There was a group of employees in that area rearranging and setting up a new furniture display. I wanted to show Hubster a sample of the fabric cover I had chosen, but couldn't find it among the samples. I asked one of the employees about it and she kindly showed me a cushion from a sofa they had just moved out in that fabric (Nordvalla grey, by the way.) Hubster approved and we were directed to another employee who helped us order it. So, with a printout in hand of what we wanted to show the cashier, we were on our way along the trail to enjoy the rest of our shopping.

I picked up a couple smaller things along the way and when we reached the checkout area, Hubster discovered the "as-is" area and wanted to take a look.

And there it was.....the Ektorp loveseat and chaise in Nordvalla grey that had just been brought down from upstairs where they were doing all the rearranging. It was still on a cart with all the cushions piled on top and hadn't been re-priced yet. We approached the gentleman working in that area about it and he went off to check what the marked-down price would be. In the meantime while we waited, Hubster sat down on a Strandmon wing chair in Skiftebo orange that was also marked down. I had been considering this chair for the playroom as well, but figured we could only afford the couch right now. I mentioned it to Hubster. Then the man came back and told us the price of the Ektorp. With as much as each piece was reduced, we could get both for less than what we were planning on paying for just the couch! We gave both pieces a good look-over to make sure they were in good shape and everything looked good. The decision was made. It was pretty much a no-brainer.

Except for the fact that we had to figure out a way to get them both home in our mini-van.

Hmmm. I was skeptical, but Hubster was confident we could do it. (I love that man!) Even the guy whose job it is to help people load their purchases into their vehicle expressed his concern that it would fit. But Hubster was not discouraged! He managed to cram both in and we headed for home!

We are STILL so beside ourselves at what a great deal we got and are really happy with our purchase. I have always loved the idea of having a sectional, but in a room this size it was just not practical, so the Ektorp loveseat with chaise is a perfect alternative.

And an orange chair!!
I know....isn't it awesome! Hehe!
Despite having been floor models, both pieces are in excellent condition with no wear. This makes me feel good about how the fabric will wear on them over time. (The fabric on the couch is amost like a grey denim.) I don't know how long IKEA keeps their furniture displays, but you know people had to be sitting in these things....trying them out, waiting for their wife to finish shopping. I mean, I know I do those things.
Another perk to buying floor models was that (even though we had to cram them in our van) they were already assembled. And on the Ektorp, the cover had already been steamed. I hear that those are a bear to handle straight out of the package.
We are definitely using this room more. The Ektorp is especially comfy and I LOVE the chaise part. It is a nice quiet spot to read or watch TV by yourself. But honestly, there have been times when all five of us have been in this room watching football or something together. So it was a win, win, win situation for us and we are very happy.
I still have a couple of loose ends that I want to tie up in this room though. I need to tackle window treatments. It's looking pretty blah at this point with only mini-blinds. I would also like to get one or two side tables, maybe a floor lamp, and something for on the wall over the chair....a mirror perhaps. But these things will all come in time. I'm not in a hurry now that the room is back to being comfortable and usable again.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Home Goals

Happy New Year everybody! I hope 2015 is off to a good start for you.

We have had a wonderful post-Christmas week. Fortunately, Hubster was able to take off all the same days as the kid's school break, so we have all been together enjoying some down time. We've been playing games, watching, movies, sleeping in.... a little Christmas clean-up thrown pressures, no place to be. It's been nice. Usually I'm ready for the break to be over and for the kid's to get back into their school routine. But we've had a good time and they've all been able to hold it together for the most part (for being out of our normal routine, that is huge.) So getting back to some "normalcy" today is coming just at the right time.

The blogiverse is already abuzz with home goals, resolutions, and organization. I've had that on my mind too as I've packed all the Christmas away. But I must be honest. I'm not great at keeping resolutions, commitments, or whatever you want to call them. I'm not a resolution person or a "word of the year" person. Honestly, I just hate to fail.

BUT......that doesn't mean I don't want to get organized and accomplish some home projects this year. I just need to take it at my own pace, not according to someone else's schedule. Change is hard for me so it's better if I take it in chunks instead of all in one fell swoop.

I have found that it is good to put some things in writing though. A couple years ago I went around our whole house, room by room, and really looked closely at it. I made a list of all the things I'd like to accomplish in each room, from small repairs that needed to be made, to painting projects, to big transformations. Surprisingly, when I look back over that list, we have accomplished a lot in our home. And some of the ideas of what I wanted to do and what my priorities were have changed in that time too.

So here is my list of things I would like to accomplish in our home this year. My ideas may change, and more things may come up, but these are a few things that feel like priorities to me right now.

1.) De-clutter our main bathroom. We have a tall cupboard in our bathroom that, with the exception of two small drawers and a very small area under our sink, is our sole storage area. About two years ago, I emptied the whole thing out and implemented some organization. That has actually served us pretty well. It's just time to clear it out a bit and start fresh. It's not a huge project. I'm sure there are just some things that can be thrown away or rearranged. It just needs to be done. And while I'm at it, I also need to clean out those small drawers and find a better way to use that space. Hubster's goal is to do some major renovations in this bathroom this year. I would at least like to get it painted. We'll see if that happens, but having things more organized would help that project get off to a good start.

2.) Reorganize and de-clutter our laundry area. I am fortunate to have my laundry area on our main floor. When we put on an addition about five years ago, we moved the laundry from the basement to a laundry "closet" in the mudroom. I had great intentions of getting this space more organized at the same time I took on the mudroom closet in late 2013. But that project took way longer than I thought it would and by the time it was completed, I was not ready to take on the laundry area. It mostly needs de-cluttering. I also need to move some things around. For example, I have a laundry basket on a high shelf that is for clothes the kids have outgrown and are ready to be given away. The basket tends to get full quickly and when it's full and hard to pull down, I tend to just toss items up there and hope they don't fall back down on my head. I need to find a better place for it so that it is easier to manage and so I am more likely to actually donate the stuff when it gets full. (Which reminds me. I also need to go through all the kids clothes and figure out what they have outgrown. Why can't they just stop growing?!?)

3.) The basement. Yes, the dreaded basement. This has been hanging over my head for years! But when I put away our Christmas decorations, I started working on getting things straightened around a little bit. I got Hubster to move a couple large shelves for me that made them more useful. I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It will still take a long time probably. And this is one of the areas that I just need to do in small chunks. But if I keep at it, it will get accomplished.

4.) My son's bedroom. Since my son is unable to really keep his own room clean and organized due to his physical limitations, it pretty much falls to me. His room is a good size to accommodate his wheelchair and it has become a drop spot for me. It's easy to "hide" stuff there when company is coming, or to "temporarily store" things that I don't know what to do with or am not ready to tackle. Hubster also made some accommodations to his room and bathroom this year and some things just never were put right after that was all done. So the room really could use a good de-cluttering and deep cleaning.

5.) The playroom. This room was one of my main goals last year. It has come a LONG way, but there are just a couple loose ends that I would like to tie up to really finish up this room. More on the playroom later this week!

6.) Have our living room painted. We've been in our house for ten years now and the living room and bathroom are the only rooms that haven't been painted, I think. It REALLY needs it. Because of the high ceilings it will be a pretty big project. Hopefully I will be able to convince Hubster that this is too big for us to take on ourselves....but then there will be the cost. So we'll see.

So that's my list for now. And it may change. You just never know when things will come up that cause you to adjust your priorities.

So how about you? Do you have goals for your home this year? I would love to hear about your plans!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

Where The Wild Narcissus Grow

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We sure did! Ours was filled with lots of family get-togethers.... good food, giggling cousins, playing games, fun presents. We also had a beautiful and meaningful Christmas Eve service celebrating and contemplating Jesus at His birth. It was a great Christmas!

So, it's about time to wrap this year's Christmas celebration up. Soon the decorations will all come down. (We usually wait until New Year's Day around here.) But I wanted to give you a funny little update on something you may have noticed was missing from my Christmas Home Tour. If you remember, back in November I planted some Paper white bulbs (also known as Narcissus.)
When I took the photos for the home tour, they were growing well, but didn't have any blooms yet. Since they weren't quite ready for their beauty shot, I left them out. I thought I would write a separate post when they bloomed and looked perfect like I had imagined. Remember my inspiration?
That didn't quite happen though.
Two of the three containers grew and grew and eventually they each had two blooms....that's it. The other container was a little stunted and didn't grow very tall at all.

The two grew so tall that I had to stake them up. And eventually they were even too tall for that!


I guess you could say that paper whites were a bit of a FAIL for me. I mean, they mostly grew, but I didn't get tons of blooms. We haven't had a whole lot of sunshine lately in northeast Ohio, so I wonder if that was part of the problem. I also read somewhere where you can add alcohol when you water them to keep them from growing too tall. But I will have to look into that a little bit more.
So even though they didn't turn out as I planned in my head, I just have to laugh. And maybe we'll do better next year.

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