Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Home Again

Those of you who periodically check my blog to see if I have written anything recently can tell that I all of the sudden quit my writing project and didn't return for almost a month. There really aren't any great reasons other than I felt like I didn't have anything truly meaningful to contribute anymore. Work got insanely busy and so everything else got pushed aside. Which is why I have been trying to play catch up this last week with getting caught up on laundry and dishes. It got really really bad! Like there were mountains of clothes to wash (and now fold) and dishes that needed to washed and put away. I am guilty of thinking that Oh! I will have more time/ energy to do it later... and then later comes and I don't have anymore/extra time than I did before and in fact the situation has progressed to being in even worse shape than had I done it originally. I like to read other people's blogs because I like the glimpses into their lives, but sometimes in reading them I feel guilty because my house isn't that organized/ clean/ shiny or whatever other adjective you want to put in there... but I came to a realization the other day, what I really like are the ideas. There are a lot of people out there who are definitely much smarter than me and have tons more brilliant ideas than what I could ever come up with... I just need to keep in perspective what works for our family and house... though, small as it is. So, for my house I am going to try something new... washing the dishes every night before I go to bed, so that the only dishes I have to do the next day are from that day... Will this work out everyday, probably not- but I need to make a concentrated effort, because we have very limited counter space and it makes cooking/baking difficult because there is absolutely NO workspace. I would rather take 10ish minutes and wash a couple of plates, silverware, glasses, and cookware opposed to washing everything and it taking more time. Time in which I could be spending time with my husband, crafting or doing pretty much anything else... In terms of laundry, that is a battle that is fought everyday, because there are some people who do one load a day, and others who don't sort their clothes or myriad of other systems... and for me it really just doesn't work out! I would much rather just do laundry on one day. Wash, dry, and fold everybody's clothes on one day. That way it doesn't get overwhelming! It is only going to take an hour to fold the laundry and the washing and drying can be done while I am working on other household projects. I am no, nor do I claim to be a homemaker of Martha Stewart proportions, but putting in a little effort will most definitely go a long way. So, today will be spent doing mountains of laundry so that The Doc and I don't have to become nudists (it is November in the upper Midwest... meaning it is COLD) and keep in mind next time when I don't have time or desire to do laundry or the dishes... that doing a few is way easier than doing a mountain load.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 15: Putting Things Away

Putting things away after I am done using an item tends to be the hardest thing for me to do. Not because it is a difficult task, but because it is one of those things that just gets put on the backburner because I have something more important to do at that exact moment. I am not sure it is always a matter of having time. Sometimes I think it is a matter of not wanting to do it. Sometimes it is difficult to decide where something should go. As I work on the living room (yes, I am still working on that project), my focus has switched to ensuring that everything has a very specific location and that it is very clearly labeled. I figure if it is clearly labeled the likelihood of it actually getting put back in the right spot will increase dramatically... which will make everyone's life here in our home more pleasant, because we won't be searching for that one thing that was put in that one spot. Once we get through the house room by room, we will be able to start purging ruthlessly. My reasoning for that is currently there isn't a lot of storage in our home, and not everything has a spot yet, so it is hard to know whether or not we would use it, since a lot of our belongings are stored away in tubs in one of our two closets. It is a project that will continue to take time, but for today, I am going to focus on labeling what we do have. I am borrowing my mom's label maker for this project. If I don't get a lot of it done today, I will be continuing on with it tomorrow. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 14: A disasterous Kitchen trial

I was going to blog last night, and then I was annoyed with the fact that I burned two pans of cookies. So, I was kind of bummed to be writing about that... so I decided to come back to it today. Burning one pan of cookies, totally makes sense. I get distracted and start working on other things... so, sometimes things get burned at our house. The one pan that didn't get burned did turn out delicious! I made Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies, it is super easy! 1 can of pumpkin puree, 1 spice cake mix, and 1 cup chocolate chips. Mix all the ingredients together (I used a hand mixer). Spray/ grease the pan, and use two tablespoons to make "drop cookies" Bake at 350 degrees. The time says 20 minutes, and the first two pans got burned at 15 minutes and the pan that didn't get burned baked for 22 minutes. So, watch them carefully. They should look like raisin hermits when they are done. You can tell that they are done, if you touch one in the center and it springs back. I will add a link to the site where I found the recipe later today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 13: Growing Pains

I am having trouble writing everyday, because of how life gets in the way. I am still here and I am still chugging along, though I will probably will end up writing a little into November just because I want to complete the task of writing about my house for 31 days. It is a good exercise for me in consistency, and not only practicing my writing but continually improving it. I am not going to stress out about writing everyday because honestly it stresses me out, and I don't want writing or my house projects to cause me so much anxiety. I am just going to keep writing for 31 days, which might just take me into November, but I am okay with that. The weekend was spent on Saturday with a huge push to get projects completed. I did write about that this weekend, and Sunday was spent returning items that we were not going to use and purchase baskets for a variety of items that we do want to use. Corralling our stuff is so important and I have been purging off and on this past year. To me going through and sorting all of our stuff has helped to make our house a little bit more home-like. We live in a smaller house (I have no idea what the square footage is) which has both good and bad points. Slowly our house has been turning into our home. Our house most definitely has some quirkiness, but that is alright with me. Slowly the personality of our house and us are being brought to life on the walls and in the rooms. It is something that cannot be rushed into, because that is when silly mistakes about what you like and what your family needs are made. Turning a house into a home is like the adolescent years. There is a lot of growing and evolving that happens, whether it is personal style or the needs of your family. You just have to be confident that eventually you will get there. It isn't always fun, but there are things about home ownership that are not fun (like frozen water pipes, boxelder bug invasions etc.) But in the end it will be worth it. Much like my current project this evening... laundry. It is a dismal chore, but it is so rewarding when it is done and you have choices again about what to wear. You just need to keep chipping away at it. Laundry is the choice tonight because it was starting to create chaos in the laundry area of our bathroom. Tootles!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 12: Another shopping day

Today wasn't a day that was planned, it was more or less a day that just happened. My mom and I and a friend of ours ended up going to Ikea again today. We needed the drawer bases to complete our shelving project in the living room, and we had things to take back that just weren't going to work in our living room. I find that you never truly know how things are going to work/ look until you get them home. So, my day was spent looking at baskets, and kitchen drawer shelving etc. I love looking at all of the ideas that they have, but what I really like is the fact that I am starting to imagine things in our home and can see a little bit more of what our style is. I am off to bed, because I am working tomorrow. Tootles!

Day 11: "Making a List, Checking it Twice"

It is not Christmas around here, nor am I starting to plan for Christmas. Though, I am excited to start decorating for Christmas in about a month and a half... anyways moving on today towards the real purpose of today's post. I was able to cross things off of my project list. My mom and dad came out once again today to help me with the living room project. My dad put up the doors for my shelving, we put up the upmost shelves, I carried down the majority of my books from downstairs, I put away my books on the shelves, I put away board games on the new shelves, and the little bookcase was moved to the porch for now, and my mom and I rearranged the furniture, a curtain rod was hung up along with the curtains that belong on it, my dad hung up our living room mirror with my mom's help. I was in charge of telling them whether or not it was centered over the couch. There were also some kitchen projects that were completed today, but I will give you more on that later. It is great to start seeing progress. I felt like we were continually taking steps backwards in our effort to make any sort of progress. I can finally see the living room in our home, it is starting to show some of our personality, beyond the fact that we picked out all of the colors. There are some more decorating projects that I would like to do in here, but I want to continue the process of bringing down things from my office upstairs. When I have all of my boxes downstairs here, I will work on organizing them a little bit more, but today's goal was to get the boxes downstairs and put away on the shelf. I would like to also make labels for the boxes, but that is something that will be happening a little farther down the line. Tomorrow's goals in the afternoon after church are: 1) Finish bringing down the rest of the boxes from my office. 2)Organizing my boxes in a way that makes sense (I don't really know what that means yet.) 3. Figuring out what art I want to put up where in the living room. Our wall space is getting filled up with a lot of fun and meaningful pieces that we have (and bookshelves). I just don't want it to feel overwhelming. I am going to have to see what can be put above our heater (we have propane heaters in our house) and how far above the heater anything hung up on the wall needs to be. I have a couple of ideas of what could be put up in that spot. I love the looks of eclectic gallery walls, and think that would be the perfect space for one. It is after midnight here, so my post will be posted as of the 13th of October, but all of these tasks were completed with the help of my parents on the twelfth. Tootles!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10: Putting it Together

I am not always a very patient person. I like to see results as soon as I start working on something, but the problem is that with house projects that rarely if ever happens. You would actually think that I would learn that by now... especially with house projects. Twice when I have picked out paint colors I have wondered what in the world I was thinking. The first time was with my kitchen, as I was prepping to paint I had opened up my paint container and instantly though OMG! What am I going to do with this? I had been shooting for a coral color, but had pepto pink in front of me. I decided to just go with. In the end I loved the color! Sometimes, turning a house into a home is about patience and taking small steps. Like today I put in the shelves for one unit and was able to move the books that I use for work to their new home! I am excited to have more time to work on it this weekend! I am hoping to get my "fun" books moved downstairs and placed into their new home. But, for tonight I am going to bask in the sunshine of getting one aspect of a very large project completed!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 8 and 9 in Review

Not everyday is exciting in the world of editing your home, and quite honestly yesterday was one of those days... I had a lot of work things that needed to get accomplished and so we just ate left overs and put things through the wash. It is part of life and it is part of homemaking, but I was exhausted and I still needed to post my assignments for a professional development cohort that I am part of. It's okay because in the midst of trying to make this our home, we have to live in our home. I also realized that I had a meeting that night 2 hours before I had to be there. Day 9- Tonight my mom, dad, and one of my uncles came out to our house to anchor the shelving to the walls. It wasn't a task that my mom and I could do on our own. They made sure everything was secure and everything was plumb and ready to roll. I am really excited to see how they will look as I am able to start organizing our belongings. Pictures will be coming soon of the finished project. I'm off to bed with visions of house fairies dancing in my head! Good night!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7: I would travel 100 miles..

Through this challenge of focusing on/ blogging about my house for 31 days I have noticed that there are a lot of things that my house has going for it... like a spacious master bedroom, bathroom, and living room and there other things the house does not having going for it like 2 small upstairs closets that are packed full of boxes from our year ago that are just waiting for a home so that they can be used and adored. The storage issue is easily taken care of. I bit the bullet yesterday and designed a shelving unit from IKEA. Now that we have all of the products actually at our house there are some fine tuning that needs to happen. It seems to happen to me a lot. I have all of these great ideas, and yet when it comes to fruition I need to re-evaluate how it is actually going to work out. I am excited though, because I feel like we are finally getting one step closer to having a home. Yesterday, my mom and I drove her truck to IKEA. When we go to IKEA it is usually an all day trip. I live approximately 100 miles from the nearest location... so we set off in the morning and made it home around dinner time. I think that IKEA has some brilliant ideas for storage and utilizing small spaces, that can be translated into smaller homes. I also don't think that you have to use just their products because you can use their concepts to adapt it more to your taste. Having everything in a very modern style doesn't really fit our house style or location. We are located in rural Midwest. I am excited to get started putting together the rest of our shelves. So, last night my mom, dad, the Doc and I carried in the IKEA haul and started putting together the shelves. I was on paper and Styrofoam control mostly last night, so at least that mess was cleaned up as we went along. I am off to put together shelves and see what we have going on for the day! I hope everyone is very productive today!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Days 5/6: A slow start

Today is a foggy, dreary, chilly day. It is hard to find motivation for anything other than staying in bed/ napping/ reading all day... but I am moving on to a new project today. Our bedroom is at stand still until the other rooms are ready and things can be moved to where they need to go. When we moved in things got put it rooms where it would seem like they would fit. There wasn't always tons of thought as to where things should be moved. So, our bedroom currently holds two pieces of extra furniture. One dresser will be moving to a different bedroom, and one shelf will either be kept or given to someone else. I haven't fully decided what I want to do with it. I just know that I don't like it in our bedroom. But, my husband needed a place to put clothes and so it was repurposed for his clothes as a temporary solution. That is the problem with our house, there are a lot of temporary solutions and nothing super permanent. Neither of us are enamored with how our house has been laid out, but at the same time we don't feel like there is a lot of solutions to the problem either. This creates a feeling of stuckness. I want to love our house, but I don't have gobs and gobs of money to be spending on home organizing systems. So, sometimes I feel defeated before I even start on a project. I need to think outside of the box and be thrifty with what we do have or purchase quality items that are going to stand up to the test of time. I firmly believe in purchasing quality items for things that are going to be with you for a long time. I am not however going to rush out and buy a whole bunch of items that I don't truly need. What I discovered this morning while reflecting on our house is that the house project won't be linear. Our room is not as I thought that they would be. The rooms are so interconnected since we have a small house. The other aspect of that is we didn't really plan out well how we were going to use each space or the layout. That my friends is a HUGE mistake. I haven't loved how we laid out the house in terms of how we will use each room. Though, it has taken me a year to get to the point of wanting to change it. The master bedroom: I moved the bed along a different wall, which makes the room a little easier to "zone", but the Doc doesn't like it. He says it makes the room look smaller. I did convince him that we should try it for a little while, and if we don't like it, we can move it back. The furniture layout doesn't have to be permanent. If the Doc really ends up hating where it is at right now. I just wanted to try out a couple of options. It also provides you with a different perspective. The temporary furniture has temporary spots. The goal is for them to be ready to be moved to their new homes by the end of the month (or shortly after, I will need help moving the furniture around.) I vacuumed until pieces started coming off. It is a very temperamental thing, and I wasn't super patient with it. So we will have to finish vacuuming at a later date. I did find a bag of garbage in our bedroom... receipts, and other things. So, there is definite progress in here. The room needs: more lighting, screws to tighten/ replace dresser handles, curtain rods (2) and curtains. It also needs the third dresser that belongs up here. Today, I am going to be working on the upstairs office. A lot of these items will be moving downstairs to the living room, and so I need to be decluttering in here so I know what kind of shelving I will need downstairs in the living room for all of our odds and ends that we keep down there. What is your plan for this Saturday?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 4: A day of hiccups

So, yesterday I was going to fix the handles on my dressers with screws... but they were too short. My husband was going to pick up longer screws, but he headed from a farm instead of town so no screws today. He isn't totally sold on moving the furniture. Apparently there are clothes all over creation. I am not totally sure what he is talking about, so tonight I am going to make sure that all of the clothes are put away, so that in a little bit we can move some of the furniture around... Wish me luck! I will update with pictures when I get that done! Tootles!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 3: Little by little

On my way home from work I was thinking about what I love about our bedroom... and though it has taken me a lot of time I really do have quite a few things that I love about our bedroom: I love the slanted ceiling in our bedroom, it gives it some unexpected character I love the nook that our very large closet created. I love the color combination of the jade-ish green walls, tan-ish carpet, and the bright white ceiling and trim. Even after are a year I still love our color choices for our room. It feels welcoming and very relaxing. I love our windows, they look like an older style even though they are brand new energy efficient windows. I love the space that we have in our room, I want to use it in a more efficient manner. These are things that I love about my house, but what do I want to change about our bedroom? I want to give it some personality or more likely our personality... it really is just bare minimum right now. The doc and I did put up a the beginnings of a gallery wall, we also have one decorative shelf that is up. Other than that the room doesn't seem to have a lot of personality. There is furniture that must be in the bedroom like our bed and our 3 dressers, but I keep feeling as if "zoning" it will help make it more multifunctional. When I am cruising the internet for inspiration I find that I truly do love the look of it, but I don't want our room to become a cluttered mess. We do need curtains and more lighting in our room. It gets very dark in there if it is cloudy or nighttime. It does not have an overhead light. After looking at my Pinterest Board I noticed a pattern of bright, airy, colorful things, that have a hint of luxury and island flavor. I feel like it is a weird mishmash of things and yet it seems to work together somehow. I really want a storage ottoman for our bedroom for all of our linens (not that we have very many, but they are unhelpful buried in our closet in behemoth plastic tubs). I also really like the idea of moving a small antique secretary desk into our bedroom to hold some stationary items etc. with corner shelves above it. Tonight will be spent tightening screws on our bedroom set that have seemed to come loose and clearing off the nightstands. I might even be able to convince my husband that we should move furniture. But, I won't necessarily hold my breath on that one. Maybe if we do just a little bit at a time the change won't seem as overwhelming. What do you love about your house? What do you see that needs to be changed so that it is more functional for your needs?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 2: My house, my plan

Everyone has a certain strategy when starting a new project... except me. My strategy seems to be rushing into it, and hoping that it works out great. The majority of the time it does work out; but there are times when mishaps and hilarity happen. Exhibit A: I forgot the doors to my Ikea shelf and then had to drive 90+ miles back into the city to get them...but I wasn't borrowing my parents' truck so the doors were perched precariously over the passenger seat. I drive a Mercury Sable and in a lot of instances every square inch counts. Then again my mishaps have created some great memories... my husband was picked up from the airport, we got the doors, everyone survived the trip home. Yay! Success! I want to be intentional with these house projects because I want to make sure that we are using all of our furniture and beloved objects to their fullest potential. I want our space to reflect who we are and our lifestyle. We are very casual/ informal people, who like to have fun, and want to use all of our space and belongings efficiently. We live in a house that is very small. I can never remember how much square footage our house has but it is tiny. We have a 3 bedroom 1 bath house that is super old. We need to get creative with the space that we have so that our family can fit comfortably. Today is the first anniversary of moving into our house. The unfortunate thing is that a lot of our stuff is still in boxes hiding into our closets because we are not any closer to feeling 100% settled into our house. I want to have made strides in getting us settled by the end of October. Week 1: 10/2/2013- 10/6/2013 Master bedroom Week 2: 10/7/2013- 10/13/2013 Living Room Week 3: 10/14/2013- 10/20/2013 upstairs office Week 4: 10/21/2013- 10/27/2013 Kitchen Week 5: 10/28/2013- 10/31/2013 Upstairs closets/ Front porch You might be looking at this plan of attack and wonder about the bathroom and the other bedroom. Part of the bathroom is a much bigger project than I am able to tackle by myself. So, I will be waiting on that one until the doc is able to participate more fully in that endeavor. The other room is the Doc's home office and so that it a space where he needs to be a more active participant in the organizing/ cleaning etc. of that space. We have different organizational ideas of setting up a workspace. These differences really do tend to balance us out. Are you a planner? Or are you a go-getter? Or are you somewhere in between? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of writing: The Home Edition

I was cruising Facebook and found that a friend had joined Nester's 31 Day challenge. I decided to join because I need to get back into the habit of writing, I also want to focus on organizing my home, and I will document each project I do. I desperately need to transform our house into a home; and unfortunately there are no fairies that will take care of that! If only someone with a magic wand would come and transform our house.... This project will probably take longer than October, but I want to get a good start on it. I hope that getting everything in order will create a sense of serenity and productivity in our house. Right now there is often a sense of chaos and feeling overwhelmed. This month will consist of mishmash of home d├ęcor ideas, cleaning, organizing, meal planning, and probably some crafting. What good are my home themed Pinterest boards if I never do anything with them? Nothing! They are just taking up virtual space! Just so you know I am a novice at all of this homemaking stuff. I work, I volunteer, I am participating in a professional development cohort. All of that translates into being busy. Unfortunately I use "busy" as an excuse to procrastinate more. I am making this house transformation a priority because I want my family to have a place where we can recharge our batteries, not walk into our home and feel instantly more stressed out. I hope you join me as I venture into the world of part-time homemaking. The goal is to find out what works best for my family, which means there will be a lot of trial and error. If you are joining me on this journey and it doesn't work for you exactly the same way it does for us, tweak it! Every family has a different journey. If you are joining the 31 Day challenge let me know what you are going to be focusing on. I will continue to update this post to share links to a new post. Just click on "Day X" to be brought to that post. Day 2 Day 3Day 4Days 5/6

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I just want it to look like Charlie Brown's shirt!"-- My DIY Chevron painted pegboard

I have been wanting to paint my pegboard for my kitchen for awhile, but the weather wasn't cooperating! Our weather patterns have been so weird! Originally when I was planning out this project my plan was to make or buy a spoon stencil (I have kind of a utensil theme going on in my kitchen). It seemed the easiest for a hestitant DIY'er, but I wasn't totally in love with the idea. Inspiration struck-- what if I paint my pegboard a black and whiteish chevron? As I started contemplating what would need to happen... there were very few actual supplies that I needed to buy. A lot of it I had gotten for free or we had left over from all of our other house projects. I am not always a huge planner when it comes to my projects, and for this particular project I learned how not to paint a chevron pegboard. Those moments of frustration is where the the quote/ title of this post came from. Materials: pegbord- My pegboard came from my grandparents' house. My grandpa had made it to hold his tools or something. There are actually two pieces of pegboard attached to a regtangular frame made out of what look like 2by2s or smaller. I don't really know... and I wasn't going to take it apart. primer- I prefer latex primer (It dries in about and hour and doesn't stink as bad) I got a little can because we were all out, and don't have that many priming projects coming up. Paint- We had a leftover gallon for the bathroom. The color is called white on white. I use Dutch Boy Dura Clean (because it washes up so nice! Even if it is just a painting whoops) The Chevron stripes are called Black Magic (I think) I just got a little tester tub because my pegboard isn't that big, and what in the world would I do with a quart of black paint? painters tape- whatever width you prefer... I prefer wide blue and I think it have a nice contrast... roller brush, 2 roller covers, 2 pan liners- The normal size rollers/ pans etc. were used to prime and paint the first coat. Mini roller and extra rollers- This seriously was the best investment I made for this project... It made it so easy to paint the stripes and the whole little contraption only cost around $3.00. I didn't use the extra roller covers, but I now have them on hand for any little project I have in mind. Exacto Knife or Utility knife- I used a utility knife. Don't push very hard! I am going to show the pictures next and if you are interested I will give a step by step explanation of what I did with each picture below. (Technically Step 1): I set up my sawhorses while my incredibly strong husband lugged my pegboard from the shed. Step 1: Prime the the top and sides of the pegboard. Wait for it to dry (approximately 1 hour) Step 2: Paint on your base coat to the top, sides, and bottom part not being covered by the sawhorses. (I have 2 very classy stripes on the back of mine from where it was resting on the sawhorses...) After painting all of the sides make sure to smooth everything out so that there are not funny ridges in the middle of you board taht you didn't notice right away. Step 2b: After the base coat is dry, apply a second base coat to ensure that your pegboard is evenly covered and disguises the previously mentioned ridges. Step 3: Step 3 is what took the majority of the day, I knew how I wanted the design to look, but I didn't find tons of helpful posts, unless you were painting a wall. After trying a lot of different ways, and being super frusturated I just googled how to paint cheveron and a really helpful video was discovered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V1LMRfxW5Q That video saved me from disaster! I knew the size of my board because I had measured it countless times trying to get the pattern to work. After watching the video I made myself a template and started taping it off with painters tape. to get the next zigzag pattern you have 2 shorter pieces of tape that you keep moving to act as your guides so you get the width and consistency that you want. After I got started I just flew through the taping. The part that takes the longest is using your exacto or utility knife to create the crisp points for your design. It is putsy, but it is totally worth taking your time with it. Step 4: After you have your painters tape ready to go, make sure you press down on the tape to make sure that it is secure. Then comes the fun part! You get to paint on your contrasting color. I found out with black that it is best to just go one direction with a foam roller. If you go over it more than once you don't get as great of coverage. Since it is a dark color, the black will need more than one coat. Make sure that the paint dries completely before doing a second coat. After the second coat had dried, I did go over some spots that looked like they needed more coverage. Step 5: You will want to carefully start pulling up tape on your pegboard when it is mostly dry, but still a little tacky. The reason for this is that you don't want the painters tape to get stuck or to rip up more paint (I did have that happen.) Step 6: Bask in the glory of your completed project! Honestly I giggled a little bit. :)
Home Stories A2Z

Saturday, June 15, 2013

7x7 in Arizona

I have been on a decluttering kick lately. This project mostly has had to do with my possessions, my "stuff" if you will. Some days it goes better than others. Even though my focus has been on my stuff, my attention has been slowly turning towards my closet in the fact that our bedroom closet is packed full of our clothes, boxes from our move , and quite honestly who knows what else. When I saw the 7x7 Challenge on Audrey's blog (I read it at least 3 times a week) over at www.puttingmetogether.com I was excited to participate because it was an opportunity to flex my creativity is a much shorter time frame and quickly see how I could rework my closet. For those of you who don't know what a 7x7 Challenge is-- you pick 7 articles of clothing including shoes from your closet, and then you make 7 outfits only using those articles of clothing... accessories such as belts, scarves, and jewelry are completely separate. It is similar to a 30x30 that are much shorter. I am going to be going to Arizona to celebrate my great aunt's birthday! We are going to be gone 4 days and 5 nights, which makes it the perfect amount of time for a 7x7 challenge. Since there is dinner, hanging out with family, the birthday luncheon, and church not to mention any other impromtu activity in addition to temps that are 100+ degrees. 1)coral pink cowl neck sleeveless blouse 2)plumish ruffle collar sleeveless blouse 3)teal fly away cardigan 4) pink and yellow v-neck tee 5) grey shorts 6)navy blue skirt with a side ruffle 7) shoes--I have to purchase a pair of sandals for Arizona. My sandals have to much metal on them for Arizona. I am going to buy a neutral pair of sandals for this trip.
Outfits 1-7: So I have tried this experiment a couple of different times and the outfits just felt wrong... until today I made some changes and one of m good friends came over to take pictures so I could bounce ideas off of her. So here it goes, my new outfits for Arizona! Outfit 1 I am excited about this outfit! I can wear this when we go out to dinner with the family on Friday night.
Outfit 2
Outfit3 I think this going to be my outfit for the flight home. My arms are always freezing on the airplanes, and I think we even have a layover somewhere.
Outfit 4
Outfit 5
Outfit 6 On Saturday there is a luncheon to celebrate my aunt's birthday. I believe that this will my outfit for that.
Outfit 7 We are going to church with my aunt, and then there will be punch and cake celebration afterwards. I think that this will be my outfit for that. At my church we are a little bit more casual, but when you are unsure of how dressy a place is, you can't go wrong with being a little bit fancier.
As you probably saw in some of the pictures that my legs kind of blend in with my shorts, usually this isn't a problem but there hasn't been much for sun here. What I learned from this experience is that it is good to have a completer piece. I just had t-shirts or blouses before and I felt like my outfits were really boring and didn't have a lot of interest. I kept changing my mind about my what bottoms I should bring, because I wasn't totally sure what I would want to wear, but I feel like a skirt and a pair of shorts will pretty much cover an occasion that could arise. I did sneak in a black tank top for the sake of modesty though :)When I did this challenge I picked colors that I most commonly wear, which are navy blue, coral, teal, and black. I was able to make things a little bit more exciting by adding different jewelry. I felt like I had much more variety the second time around. I just need to throw in my purple ombre scarf, my 7 pieces, accessories,pajamas and a swimsuit and I am set for the adventure! THanks for stopping by! What was your favorite look?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It was April 2nd.... and then it was June 1st.

April and May flew by! I was focused on my teaching and all of the sudden it was the last student day (yesterday). I felt like I didn't have anything to write about, because I was mostly just working. I did complete my 30x30 challenge. Everyday that I tried to take pictures I was exhausted or nobody was home or other some other excuse came up. I did enjoy the challenge, I feel like it did stretch my thinking about my closet. I had some pretty adorable outfits come out of it, and I really utilized my accessories. I wore necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and my scarves. It reminded me that I have some really great pieces in my closet that can do a lot of work. The one house project that I worked was in my kitchen. I found a saying online, with the help of black vinyl and my cricut I turned the saying into kitchen decor. I am in love with the project, I see it when I walk into the house from the kitchen. I am really excited about it. I have two days off next week before I start teaching Summer School. So, I am going to enjoy my summer time. Now if only the weather would cooperate and wouldn't feel like fall outside. I am going to make the best of this time of relaxation.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

30 Days, 30 Outfits

Here is The Doc's awesome fashion photography. Maybe, at the end of the month he will decide that he doesn't want to be a dairy vet anymore (though, I doubt it.) As you can see Annie needs be where the action is at our house. Today kicked off my closet remixing project! I decided to take on this challenge because I want to rethink my wardrobe. I do have a lot of clothes. It is just a matter of being intentional and creative with what I have. My outfit today was pretty basic. I wore a black long sleeved t-shirt, black dress pants, denim jacket, and my leopard print wedges. My accessories for the day were my red/ gray necklace with my gray earrings. I'm still fine tuning my clothing pieces, but those 4 pieces are now solidly in my wardrobe. I have decided that I am not going to count jewelry, scarves, hats, and belts as my 30 pieces because they can add a lot of personality to an outfit. Also, this is an exercise in rethinking what I already own. One of those accessories might open up my mind to a totally different frame of mind. I will put up pictures of my remixes, but probably not everyday because it will hectic soon and I will feel horrible for not doing it every day. I want to figure out how to make picture collages, but if I can't I will just put up pictures individually. I'm thinking my recap day will be Sunday. Here's to a month of creativity! Tootles!

Good-bye 40 Days, 40 Bags??

Sunday/ Saturday was the last day of the 40 Days, and 40 Bags challenge. I don't feel like I finished strong... because work got really busy and decluttering got put on the bottom of the list. It unfortunately happens, but I did get stuff accomplished aI nd that was wonderful. I will keep working on my house projects though. Did I work on projects this past Saturday, absolutely! The Doc is bothered by how much stuff is kept in my car, so he emptied it all out of my car... except my glove box and my cds that I listen to while driving. I sorted everything as it came it. It got put in a pile, and I carried it to the room that it is suppose to go to. There are a few things that don't have a "room", so they are just hanging out in our living room until I get more stuff decluttered and organized. The Doc and I also got one curtain rod and curtain panels up! I have had them in my car, waiting for a golden opportunity to go up! We have one more window that needs to have the curtain rod and panels put up, but we are making progress! Apparently the curtain rod for the other window is too short, because that window is wider... I'm not sure how I missed that while measuring. I am really excited about the new curtains, not the measuring mishap! I think that they will look nice! They are a reddish-burgundy color. The color on the package said "sangria" I believe. I didn't wash/ press them. They are a little wrinkly, but I figured I would hang them up for a week.If the wrinkles or lines didn't come out by then I would fuss with them a little bit more. I learned a lot about myself during this initial project of decluttering. I learned that: I need a very flexible plan. I don't do well with tons of structure, because I need to be able to switch it up to meet my needs. I found out that I had no problems getting rid of "stuff" when I actually thought about the last time that I used it. I also learned to prioritize my "stuff", somethings just weren't useful to me anymore. It needed to go. To make room for things I really love. If you want to continue reading about my decluttering and the second phase of decorating/ organizing look for them under the House to Home label. As soon as the decluttering phase is done I will start adding photos of the rooms as we go into decorating mode. I'm still waiting to get all of the furniture into our house and putting it where it needs to go. I am glad that I did this project though, it was just enough motivation to get started working in our house. Until next time....

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

30 x 30: Probably a Crazy Idea

So, my closet and I just aren't friends right now. I don't think it's anyone's fault really, but I'm not feeling inspired. The problem is that I feel like I constantly need to buy new clothing... which makes the Doc annoyed. The secondary problem to that is that I have all of this stuff to try and fit somewhere in my 2 dressers or my closet. Which creates major chaos and I still say that I can't find anything to wear. So, I am doing a clothing intervention for myself. I am going to pick 30 items of clothing from closet and I am going to wear only those 30 items of clothings for the next 30 days. Accessories such as jewelry, tank tops, socks, and tights are not included because they are necessary and could easily consume my 30 choices... and really a tank top and socks does not an outfit make. So, my thinking right now for this challenge: completers: brown blazer (it needs to be dry cleaned), emerald cardi, gold cardi, jean jacket, cream sweater. tops: black t-shirt, brown long sleeved shirt, black long sleeved shirt, red printed wrap shirt, pink and black zebra printed blouse, navy blue/ teal ikat shirt, polka dot top, emerald dress t-shirt, coral 3/4 sleeve top dress: navy blue printed dress bottoms: navy blue pants, black pants, gray pants, printed skirt, navy blue skirt, 2 pairs of jeans shoes: black suede slouch boots, nude colored flats, nude colored heels, leopard print wedges, cobalt blue flats so this puts me at 27 items. I still need 3 more items. I will ponder that for awhile. What clothing item could you not live without for 30 days?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thoughts on hospitality

Hospitality is one of those gifts some people have and they make it seem effortless, smooth, and just so impressive. I wouldn't say that I am one of those people, I forget dessert or there is clutter in our home or something else like that. I started the 40 Days, 40 Bags project to force myself to go through the belongings in our house and really think about what we need, use, and what really would be beneficial for us. The project has not gone as quickly as I would like since I started this project. Part of the reason is am working as a long term sub full-time, another reason is I feel like I have to have rooms perfect before I move onto the next project. This has been discouraging to me, but reading this post on Hospitality from The Nourishing Home has been really helpful. Here is the link: http://thenourishinghome.com/2013/03/discovering-the-heart-of-true-hospitality/ Hospitality is one of those things that The Doc and I can do. We don't have wheelbarrows of extra money or a fancy house; I am okay with that.That doesn't diminish the desire to develop relationships with people and meet their needs. There are a lot of people who need friendship, a place to feel safe, and to feel welcomed and loved. We can do that in our home. It has a lot of quirks just like its human and canine occupants-- it can be a tool in our arsenal of demonstrating Jesus Christ's love. I love parties of all sorts, but it isn't necessary. Easy to prepare food and beverages allow more time for what is important. I'm not saying fun isn't important, but buliding relationships need to be our focus. The article helped give me focus and gave words to what my heart was trying to tell me. I will keep working on my project well past Lent... because the goal doesn't end just because Lent is over. It just brings new focus to my goals. Do you love to entertain? What is your goal and what tricks/ tips do you use to accomplish your goal?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lost Steam

I realized that I have not blogged for almost a week, I apologize for that... if anyone is still reading. It got hectic here and both my decluttering and blogging were pushed aside. Today I am able to blog because I'm home sick from work. The doc thinks that I came across a bit of salmonella poisoning and it has wreaked havoc the last couple of days. I need some clear inspiration and goals. So, today I'm taking this opportunity to come up with a new game plan. I am making a list of everything that I would like to accomplish in the house and organizing it in a way that makes sense to me. We did get all of the paneling up in the bathroom for now. There is a corner that will need some additional work before we can put up the last little bit of paneling. It is nice to see progress in the bathroom. The Doc has done such an awesome with the paneling. I haven't been able to pound in the nails or fill in the holes with wood filler due to my being sick, but that will happen probably this weekend. I don't think that I will get all of the rooms organized before my 40 Days, 40 Bags challenge is done... but that is okay. I will just keep working on it until it is done. It is a process, and with all of the reading I have been doing about decluttering and minimalism, being "intentional" about our home is the goal. I will just keep working on it until, it is completed. I'm going to work on my list so that I can create a better plan.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Keep chippin' away

The weather has been a little bit wild the last couple of days, and apparently it is suppose to get wilder again. I would like to be able to move my furniture one weekend, but that will just have to wait until a) the weather cooperates and b) the bathroom paneling is up. It currently is just hanging out in the living room, waiting to be used. I have worked on the bedroom project on Tuesday. It isn't done yet, but it is a vast improvement.I'm still trying to decide how I want to store my accessories like jewelry and scarves. What do you do?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scrub-A-Dub

Today is the day we start putting up our paneling! Once our paneling is up we will be able to plumb in our washing machine (it is currently in our kitchen)and we will finally be able to to put up some shelves in our bathroom! I don't know about your house but here real estate (i.e. shelf space) is at a premium and we really just don't have enough of it. It we be so exciting to have a place for towels and the other miscellaneous bathroom stuff. The bedroom project has been put on hold, until the bathroom project is done. Yesterday, The Doc spent the afternoon looking for stud walls, which is a pain in of itself. The plastic has been laid on the living room floor so that as soon that we can start cutting as soon as we need to! I love being able to see progress in our house. I just need to remember that even if I don't see progress, if I keep chipping away at it will get done and be fabulous! What do you do for bathroom storage?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

helllooooooooooooooo!

Yes, I'm still alive and yes I'm still writing on my blog! I started a long term subbing position on Tuesday this week, and it has been crazy trying to get into the swing of going to school everyday. It takes some getting use too! I haven't really been working on my 40 Days, 40 Bags challenge as much as I would like to this week, because of trying to figure out what is going on... and the fact that I have been exhausted by the time that I actually got home. After supper tonight I'm going to work on my bedroom project a little bit more. I don't stay up very late these days, because I can't, I will fall asleep in a chair or at the kitchen table.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Unexpected

There is a lot of unexpected things that happen in this life, these things can be both good and bad... and I'm finding out that this true also with my 40 Days, 40 Bags challenge that I'm participating in. As I keep decluttering I have come across strong attachments to things, that I didn't even know that I had. I also have come across feelings of frustration and anger in the fact that we have so much stuff. I am trying to keep in mind that the reason I joined this challenge is to remove the stuff in our life so that we have time to enjoy each other's company and have the ability to entertain friends, and next year have the ability to put up our Christmas tree, because the response there are boxes of stuff everywhere won't be a legit reason anymore. I break down projects into smaller chunks, I think about whether or not I have used an item in the last 5 years and if I will actually use it if I had it out... and amazingly enough the answer is getting easier to be honest with myself and say no. For me that is a great improvement. I will need to keep working on the bedroom, but I'm getting closer to being done. I dusted off our night stands and rearranged them... they look so nice. It will be a fantastic feeling when I am completely done. For now though I just need to keep working on it, and if I need to take a break every once in awhile so be it! I hope everyone is having a great day!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hey Hey! Ho Ho, Stuff You Just Got to Go!

So, I was going through all of the stuff in our bedroom, and I have made some progress... but I have realized two things about myself today. Self-Realization #1: I have total project ADHD! My husband was commenting on it earlier in the week, saying that I am working on stuff and making progress and then I change midstream and work on a different project that will help me complete my overall goal. I am trying to not do that so much now that I know that it is a problem, but at the same time if I am seeing progress and I am able to cross some stuff off my list I'm okay with because quite honestly I have a really short attention span. Self-Realization #2: The most expensive items in our home are... our diplomas! Doesn't that just want to make you break into our home and take 4 pieces of paper that nobody else would find useful. I have a bachelors of arts in linguistics and The Doc has 3 diplomas. He has a bachelors of science, a masters of science, and a doctorate of veterinary medicine! There was a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and swearing that went into achieving proficiency in our chosen fields. Even if someone was crazy enough to break into our house and take our diplomas, they wouldn't be able to steal our sense of accomplishment, our sense of pride in our, work or any of the memories that were made during that process. This realization has made it a lot easier to get rid of stuff today! Happy Saturday everyone! I should probably get back to work The Doc needed my assistance with repairing the plumbing, and I needed a nap because I was exhausted.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Project No. 2

I have decided that organizing our bedroom will be the best use of time. Since other than our closet it will easy to show a lot of improvement in the bedroom. It has been busy here with car troubles, work, and unpredictable weather. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Project 1: Pictures

The room still needs to be decorated, but that will happen after I get the rest of my furniture and continue to declutter. Our wall art is in a box somwhere. In box that wee need to find, so that will happen at a later date and there will be more photos.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 6 = Project 1 In the Bags

Annie and I are basking in the glory of the first completed room. If you don't know who Annie is, she is our rescue pup, not a real person as she is sometimes mistaken for. When I am home she spends a good portion of her day with us since she it is so bloomin' cold outside today. She did however get to run around outside for about 15 minutes just now to chase the pheasants that were brave/ stupid enough to come up close to our house. Project 1 of 40 Bags, 40 Days is in the history book. Project 1 was to declutter our living room and create a welcoming layout using our furniture! That has been accomplished; and let me tell you it creates its own housekeeping high. I don't think I would ever type that phrase, but then again I didn't think that I would ever get my living room done. I chose the lving room because it one of the rooms that we spend the majority of our time in. We sit in here to talk, we watch movies, and surf the internet in here. It is also our biggest room in our house besides our bedroom. Each project has two parts. The first part is to get the room decluttered, unpacked, and organized in a pleasing/ efficent manner. The second part is to decorate that room with our personal effects and all of the lovely wedding presents we got from family and friends! I am waiting to do the decorating part until the decluttering is done, because you never know what you are going to find in a box in this place (both good and bad). I will need to pick another room for tomorrow, but for now I am just basking in the glory of not having to hop over anything, being able to play with the pup in the middle of our living room and know that I can relax in this room. I am going to go buy curtians for this room. I found some curtains with colors that have the colors in them that are morphing into this room's color pallette. They are on sale at Menards for the weekend! Woohoo! Tomorrow I am going to post pictures of what my room looks like tomorrow. One of my pictures came out very dark and I would like to retake it so that all of the pictures can be together. I'm off to fold laundry and make supper! Have a great night!

Furniture

I have come to the point in my living room decluttering project where the layout just isn't jiving anymore, and so it is time to start moving furniture around. I am doing some research (i.e trolling pinterest for ideas) and will then start moving furniture around and moving some of the boxes to their more permanent homes. Pictures will be coming eventually. It is just taking me awhile to get there. I am unsure of what my next project will be... I'm trying to decide between the bathroom, the front porch, and my kitchen. All of these spaces are on my list for 40 Days, 40 Bags so it really doesn't matter which one we do first. Though, I am a little more anxious to start on my front porch. It is small enough and really just needs some decluttering and moving of the furniture around. It might also get some hooks for The Docs winter work gear. Coveralls, take up ridiculous amounts of space. Yesterday's progress was minimal and there wasn't really anything to report other than I wish that all of the decluttering was done. I did however get underneath the kitchen sink decluttered and have some ideas for organizing it this summer after I can sand and paint it with windows open. :) I should probably get started on my decluttering tasks for today... I am ready to be able to move onto a new project.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our Weekend

I just pluggin' away in our living room. It is getting closer to being done which is will be great. I am starting to layout my living room furniture in my head, which I kind of like. The current arrangement isn't permanent and it isn't really working for me right now... The current layout is utter craziness and is creating a bit of a traffic flow issue. The Doc and I did however drive to Grand Forks, ND for the George Strait/ Martina McBride concert. It was a fantastic weekend with fun and relaxation, which was very much so needed. We danced, sang, and just hung out. It was lovely and being able to relax isn't something that happens very often.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Stuff, My Journey

As I get more into this project during the Lenten season it is going to get harder, because I am a natural hoarder. Not like TV show hoarder, but enough that my stuff makes it difficult to be organized and feel comfortable in our home. Much of this stuff I have had for 22+ years and so there is some real emotional attachment to it. It should be "just stuff" but there are a lot of wonderful memories attached to my stuff and so it makes it that much harder to get rid of. I keep reminding myself of the William Morris quote:
"Have nothing in your house that ou don't know to be useful. Or believe to be beautiful."
If it is useful or beautiful or even both, then we will have no problem finding a place for it in our home. It will be interesting to see how both my husband's and my different styles come into play as we are able to finally start decorating our home as we get everything put away. The challenge came at the right time as I was starting to feel overwhelmed by stuff and wanted to be able to get things organized and start feeling settled. Not because people were telling me that I had too, but rather because I want to be able to have a less chaotic home and I wanted to be able to open our doors to others. What good is having a home if you cannot demonstrate hospitality to others. So during the processing/ planning phase I came across these questions from Home Your Way. It is definitely worth the time it takes to read it! Happy Saturday!

Day 3: A Weird Mishmash

So yesterday I did a weird mishmash of things, because i was kind of spazzy for some reason. I took out "The Docs" farm collection just so that I could visusally see what was there and which peices were the biggest because I needed to measure them. We will be buildeing a custom build a shelf around those pieces because we want everything to fit. After everything was on the floor I realized what time it was and had to run to town to do some errands. while in town at my parents house I cleaned an entire trash bag out of my car, and that was just the front seat and what I could grab from the back. I need to still clean out the back seat of my car and take the rug out of my trunk, but my office isn't until a little later in the 40 Days, 40 Bags so it will just hang out there for awhile. When I got home all of the groceries went in their cupboard and the farm collection got put back in its box for now and the other mish mash of stuff is going into their designated boxes until I get to that room. Happy Saturday everone!

Five for Friday

Here are a list of 5 things I love: 1. Rootbeer 2. Our dog Annie 3. Watching movies with The Doc 4. Teaching 5. Spending time with people. There are more things that I love, but I just wanted to share 5 of them with you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Organizing Day 2

So, I have come across an interesting problem as I starte decluttering my living room this morning, that there really isn't anyplace to put things that I have sorted and wanted to keep as of yet, because the rest of our rooms are just as crazy and cluttery... so my solution so far is I have 3 Cashwise boxes one is for kitchen stuff, one is for my office belongings and one is for misc. tools etc. I dont think that we can do this forever, but as the house is sorted the boxes will also get put away too, so it might be that our living room is going to end up being the last room put together even though it is the first room to be decluttered. What I did today was:1) unpack one box, (threw away anything that I didn't want, need or couldn't use and put things in the appropriate box until we can start putting more and more stuff away. I think that I might have to also do some designing as well to have an idea about what I need during this process/ transition. 2) washed two loads of towels, and folded some laundry that were washed the other day. As soon as the dryer is done I will start folding laundry. 3) picked up all of the strings from our dogs toy... she likes to shred her toys and they were all over the place and were making us batty. The overall goal of 40 days, 40 bags in our home is so that it is organized, finally decorated, and we are able to have friends and family come over without having to move a whole bunch of stuff around all of the time or sit on the floor. It is like the William Morris projects out there... if it isn't beautiful, useful, and you don't love it... then there really is no place for it in your home. I am feeling pretty good about what I have accomplished so far today.It wouldn't look like much to the casual observer but I know that we are a little garbage bag closer to being able to have all of our furniture in our house and all of the things we love around us... It will be worth it even if the decluttering process isn't that much fun. There is still more to do, but that is okay Eventually ecerything will get done.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hello 2013!

I changed the background, text,and some of the colors on my blog because it was time! I wanted something cute, fun, and a little less bright. The other new thing is that yesterday was the first day of Lent and instead of "giving something up" I decided to become better organized. The Doc (ie my husband) and I haven't fully unpacked since our big move in October... truthfully boxes have been shoved into our closet to the point where I have no idea where any of our stuff is. I was surfing Pinterest a few days ago and found this challenge 40 Days 40 Bags 2013 Declutter Challenge from (www.whitehouseblackshutters.com ) If you want to join me! Yesterday, I started by putting all of my clean laundry and laundry baskets away! It is ins't anything truly impressive, but it is at least a start. I think that today I am going to sit down and just look at the calendar and create a plan! I think that I am going to start with my living room, since it causes the most stress in our house... and just work my way out and up from there. I haven't decided if I am going to include pictures or not, we shall see. If you are reading this do you want to see pictures of my crazy looking house? Happy Valentines Day everyone! I hope You feel the love of Jesus, family, and friends today! XOXO