Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minute Decorating

Christmas is only a few days away, but there is still time to do a little festifying around the house if you haven't done so yet. We have an easy, fast and relatively cheap option for putting up some cute little Christmas trees outside your door, or wherever you happen to need a little more Christmas cheer. We saw this idea on pinterest and it is originally from here but we did a little tweaking to make it work a little better for us.

Here is the list of what you will need:
  • Tomato cages
  • Poster board (we used black to help it blend in)
  • Christmas lights
  • Garland
  • Tape
  • Bricks or something else to hold down the tomato cages so they don't blow away in the wind
So, to get started get out your tomato cages from the garage since no one is growing tomatoes this time of year anyway. Set them upside down where you want your Christmas trees, and if you are putting them outside you might want to have something to help weigh them down; we just put a brick across the bottom of the cage to help in case of wind.

I know it doesn't look like much right now, but it will turn out looking great. And in case you are wondering if you can skip the next step (poster board) and go on with the wrapping, here is what our tree looked like before we added the poster board step.  A warning for those with a weak stomach, it isn't pretty.

We also learned from that sad, ugly little tree that it is better to wrap the lights first and then the garland after. So next, take your poster board and wrap it around the tomato cage taping it shut to give it a more conical shape. We used two pieces of poster board, but how much you need would depend on the size of your tomato cage.

After the poster board you add the lights. We started at the top so and worked our way down so that the lights wouldn't be able to slide up the "tree". We also added tape every now and then to help keep them in place.

Finally we added the garland. We used a 50 foot garland for each tree just to make sure that it looked nice and full when we were all done. Just as with the lights we started at the top and worked our way down wrapping the garland as we went. We taped the end of the garland to the top of the tree and then just tucked the bottom end underneath the brick that was holding the whole tree down. 

 Once it is all put together it looks a little something like this. 

And at night (please forgive my poor nighttime photography skills). 

So there it is, a simple 15 minute project to bring a little more cheer into your Christmas. Merry 
Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Two 5 Minute Organizing Tips for Under $10

I know that our lives can get pretty crazy sometimes, and also that neither of us function well whenever we feel like the house is cluttered. So I thought I would show you just a couple quick, easy and cheap tips that we use to cut out some of the clutter around here.

The first idea is for all those coupons and samples that you don't want to lose but don't know what to do with, so they end up on the table, counter, or in a junk drawer where they never get used because you can't remember what you actually did with them. *Disclaimer: I am not a professional couponer; I don't think I would even qualify in the amateur leagues, I simply cut the ones that we are most likely to use and I don't go out of my way to find them, so I have maybe a total of 15 at any one time. I guess I could be a recreational couponer.* Here is the solution that we came up with for all those pesky papers that you know you should keep around and use but never know where to put them.

Yep, that's it! A couple of cork boards hung up on the inside of the cabinet with command strips. You can find cork squares just about anywhere. I think we got these at Target a couple years ago for about $7 for a pack of four squares. Now whenever we want to order pizza or go to Target (a very frequent event in our house) we know where to look for any deals that are to be had. I also organize the coupons by restaurant or store too, so that they don't take up a ton of room on the cork boards and I can just look through the stack when I know I am going to a certain place. And the great thing is that since they are inside the cabinet they are hidden when people come over instead of being out on a counter or hung up on the fridge.

The next handy little trick I actually learned on Pinterest. This is the original link that I came up with, but since they linked back to Pinterest for it we may never know who the genius is that first came up with this idea.

The concept is so simple that as soon as I saw it I thought to myself  "How have I never thought of this?!". I love scarves, but until I saw this I had never found a good way to store them since they take up so much space in a drawer or basket and then you have to dig to find the one that you want. Well this handy little scarf organizer takes all the pain out of storing scarves. And all it cost was a couple of bucks to get the cheap-o shower curtain rings at, where else? Target. It is a very simple process, just take the shower curtain rings, attach them to a hanger (you could use a wooden hanger if you want it to be a little sturdier, I just went with what I had on hand), and then drape your scarves through. It really can't get much simpler or cheaper than that.

I hung it from a hook that I already had on my closet door, but you could just as easily hang it on your closet bar or your coat closet so that they are right there when you are ready to head out of the house.

So there you have it, two surprisingly easy and inexpensive ways to cut down a little on the clutter in your life. I hope you find them just as helpful as we do, and if you have any other simple and inexpensive tips for cutting the clutter please feel free to share them in the comments. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's About Time's been a while since my last post. I have no good excuse, not even a bad excuse, but thanks to a couple of very persistent friends and also looking at the stats on the blog and seeing that for some reason you all still look at it I decided to see about giving this whole thing another shot. One thing is for sure, I haven't been neglecting the blog for lack of projects around here, so I will dive right in on one. The big project we have been working on lately is project baby! And yes, this time this is an announcement. We are expecting a little bundle of joy that is going to be known as Will in late September or early October! We have been busily working on things around here to prepare for his arrival, and it just so happens that it works out that the last post happened to be about the built-in bookshelf that will now be a part of the nursery. So, where to begin? Let's start out where we last left off. The last time we looked at the built-in it was looking something like this.


Not too bad, but not the most kid friendly. It has since evolved into this.

The bookshelf got repainted to be all white (it's hard to tell from the first picture, but the backing was a soft cream color) and we have added some kid friendly books and toys. It is far from complete, but it is an improvement in my opinion. Also, you may have noticed that the wall color changed. We decided to go with a soft neutral gray in the room. We used Martha Stewart Living's Bedford Gray (color matched to Olympic Premium). We used that color on the pantry in the back room and really liked it, but it does go on the walls quite a bit cooler than it looks on the paint chip, where it has a more brownish gray hue. We also painted all the trim in the room white. Here is what the room was looking like before our little painting expedition.

And here is a testament to what a little paint can do for a room. The color in the top picture is more true to what it actually looks like in real life. 

One of my favorite things about the whole room so far would definitely have to be the doors. Jake had the idea to paint the inner panels of them the same color as the walls, and I love the way it turned out, especially with the antique-y looking door knobs that we have. *Once again the top picture has the more true to life paint color.

 So there is one of the numerous projects we have been working on around here as of late. Hopefully it won't take me another 7 months to get to the next project post.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I {heart} Built-Ins

I love the look of anything, well, almost anything, that's built-in. That's why when we decided to renovate the back room we thought it would be fun to add a little built-in to our little house. Since the back room was added on after the house was built, there are windows that look from the kitchen and spare bedroom into the back room. I actually like the kitchen one because it allows me to see into the back yard while I am in the kitchen, and it allows more natural light into the kitchen, which in my book is always a good thing.

The window in the spare bedroom was another matter though. I always had visions of someone breaking into our house and while we were busy walking into the kitchen to go into the back room, they would sneak through the window into the spare bedroom and have the jump on us. A little crazy, I know, especially since that window didn't even open, but I'm irrational sometimes. And really, what bedroom needs a window looking into another room in the house?

So we decided it had to go. We could have just covered it up on both sides of the wall and been done with it, but when you live in a small house you use any extra space you can get. So, we decided to turn it into a built in bookshelf. The first thing we did was remove the trim around the window.

Removing the trim enabled us to see the inner workings of the old window too. Gotta love window on a pulley system.

Then the window itself was taken out. Not to worry, the window didn't just end up trashed. Our friend Ashley took the window off our hands and  is planning to make a coffee table out of it.

After that we added the backing to the evolving bookshelf. We decided that we wanted the bookshelf to be on the bedroom side since it would have very awkward placement if it were in the back room.

Next Jake built up a frame inside the wall where the window weights and pulley used to be so that the whole thing would be flush with the hole left in the wall.

We primed and painted the backing before adding in the shelves. We decided to do white trim and shelves with a subtle color difference for the backing, so we used some of the Olympic Drifting Dune from the back room to paint the back. We may change the color of the backing at some point to make it more of a statement, but for now it works just fine.

We decided to make a slightly larger shelf for the bottom that would go with the trim, so it was a little more in depth measuring, but not too difficult. 

The shelves got cut down and then primed and painted outside and then brought in to be installed.

We measured out in the space where we wanted the shelves to land and then I held them in place as Jake air nailed them in from the back side. If you ever do this you want to be sure to measure several times from both sides to be sure that you will be nailing where the shelves are, otherwise you would end up with nails/holes sticking out of the back of the bookshelf. We also secured the shelves on the side of the built-in, just to be sure that they were extra sturdy. Since we were both busy doing something for this part of the project we didn't end up getting any pictures of this step.

The last thing left to do was to put up the trim around the shelves and call it good. Well, actually, we still need to go back and fill in the air nail holes and do the touch up paint, but it's functional. And the back side of the built-in got covered over with paneling when we paneled the wall in the back room.

We love the way that the project turned out in the end, and it is so functional too. It holds a good amount of our books, plus some pictures and other decorative stuff too since we don't want it too look too heavy like it might with just books.

Anyone else out there have a pointless window that you don't know what to do with? Or are there any other projects that you've come up with for the space where you took out a window? I'm thinking a Murphy bed would potentially be a cool way to change up an old window...maybe someday in some other house. I will have a Murphy bed someday, I'm convinced.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Nursery Designs (no this is not an announcement)

Our friends Tony and Angel found out back in late September that they would be welcoming a new family member sometime in early June. We were extremely excited for them and last night I got an assignment from Angel to help with the nursery. Since they won't be finding out the gender they are working on a nursery that could be for either a boy or girl. Angel found this bedding that she likes from Target, which I think is super fun.
Sumersault Baby Bedding Collection-Geo Brights.Opens in a new window.    
Now for my assignment. They want to do a lamb themed nursery, and since we have yet to find much in the way of cute lamb bedding, we're going to have to incorporate them into the room some other way. So off I set on my lamb hunt search. The first place I checked was etsy, knowing that there are all kinds of awesome handmade things on there. I actually found this lamb mobile from eleni creative on there several months ago, when I was looking for Angel and our other friend Sara, who is also having a baby and wanting to do a lamb themed nursery.

Unfortunately, the price of this sweet little guy is quite a bit more than is in the budget for a mobile, but we might be able to whip up something of our own that's similar, so we'll just have to see.

I also found this sweet print from the Keep Calm Shop, we'd probably just have to change the color scheme to go better with the bedding (and maybe change it to "love lambs").

Keep Calm and Love Sheep, 5x7 Print (featured in Silver Sage) Buy 3 Get One Free

There were several other cute wall prints that I found on etsy too.
Children's Wall Art Print- lamb, sheep, Kids Art, Nursery Art
from here

Canvas Painting with Polka Dots, Bible Verse and Lamb - "The Lord is my Shepherd"
from here

Children's Wall Art Print- lamb, sheep, family, Kids Art, Nursery Art
from here

Of course all of these would need a different color scheme to go with the bedding, but they were just some thoughts that were bouncing around in my head.

The next place I checked was, of course, pinterest. I didn't really realize until I searched "lamb" on pinterest how many recipes I would find, not exactly the most touching note eh? Anyway, I did find some cute stuff on there as well. Like a free pattern for making this lamb pillow.

Originally from here

And this fun little button sheep that we could put together in a cinch. 

originally from here

And although this has nothing to do with lambs, I think this rug would look awesome to add a little pizazz to the floor.

  • Freckle Rug.jpg
from here

I have to admit, while looking for some cute little lambs I found some kind of crazy things too. I discovered that not only can little lambs be a little too cutesy...

Baby Lamb Stars and Moon Baby Mobile
from here
they can also be pretty creepy.

Little White Lamb Stuffed toy
from here

So there you have it, a round up of the lamb nursery stuff I found while searching for Baby O.'s nursery. Anyone else done a lamb nursery? If you have any other links to great lamb nurseries (or creepy lamb stuffed animals for that matter) we'd love to see them, just post them in the comments.