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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Window box update for Fall

     I love this time of year. The air is crisper, the leaves are gorgeous, and I can redo my window box! I always put red geraniums in my boxes in the spring and mix in trailing vines, and a few petunias or impatients. I don't add too many colors because I want the red to be dominant. (It coordinates with my red chair on the front porch). Here's the spring/summer look that needs changing.

I was definitely on a tight budget with this one. My total out of pocket expense was $14.00. First, I sent my daughter and her friends in the backyard to scavenge for branches, flowers or anything that looked fallish to them. They came back with some interesting things but I was able to use some of it.

For the base of the window box display I used some zebra grass that was ready to be cut back. I whacked it down a week ago, bundled it and let it sit in my garage to dry out. On top I added 3 baking pumpkins, gourds, a few branches, and a mum that was separated.

When it's a little closer to Halloween, we will add a few big pumpkins to the front porch.
Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Master Bedroom Wall Project

     I wanted to share our master bedroom with you. I've recently completed the wall in this room, and though the room overall has more growth to do, I'm excited about how this project has elevated this space.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Kitchen Project

     We've lived in our house for 11 years and I've always hated the builder grade cabinets that were installed. I don't mind the design of them, they are very simple, but I really dislike the oak. Sorry to all you oak fans out there. So, I have finally convinced my husband to dislike them enough that he is willing to paint them. This will be a very long project but we got started this last week! I am so excited, I'm practically giddy! We haven't figured out what our process is going to be yet, but we did complete one whole cabinet. I have one set that the doors were taken off of some time ago and it houses all of my day to day dishes (plus the Wii games in the basket). We wanted to complete this one first from start to finish so that we didn't have to live with our regular dishes out on the counter during this process. Here is the before, our kitchen in its current state:

      Not horrible but a little dark and a little dated. This past spring I took the doors off of one of our cabinets and love how it already makes the kitchen look a little bigger.

      This is the section that we started with. We painted it the same off white of our trim that is in the rest of the house. Its a Sherwin Williams paint. For the base coat we used a bonding primer. The type of paint used for the top coat is specifically for doors and trim. I know that they make paint especially for cabinets but I was so impressed by the durability of this type that we chose to stick with it. Here's how it turned out:

     On the back of the cupboard I used contact paper to provide some interest. The background color happens to be the same color as the oatmeal on my walls. This is a lot cheaper than purchasing wallpaper and a lot easier than a stencil. I did have to add a little glue to the corners because after the first week it started drooping. I love how it turned out and can't wait to tackle the rest of the kitchen. Now, if only I can motivate my hubby!


I'm linking up here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kid's Art Wall

I'm sure you've heard it said that "necessity is the mother of invention". This is definitely true with this project. My kids were bringing home so many cute art projects and the fridge's real estate was a hot commodity.

I wanted to create an art wall that could revolve as new projects came home, but I didn't want to spend money on it. I searched high and low for something that could be used to achieve my goal. I hit the jackpot when I came across a few packages of guitar strings in the back of my desk. The great thing about guitar strings is that on one end they have a little ring that is the perfect fit for a nail to go through.

For this project I used 4 guitar strings, two for each row. Because there is only a ring on one end of the string,  twist the two strings on the other end together. Put a nail through the end ring and nail it at the height you want on one end. Measure how far down from the ceiling your nail is. Pull your string taught and measure the same distance down from the ceiling on the other side so that its level. Nail the other side up.

The clothes pins can be purchased at any craft store for a buck or two. These were spray painted black to coordinate with the room.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another Drop Cloth Pillow

You've probably seen these all over blog land: cute pillows made out of drop cloths. I decided to jump on this band wagon because I wanted to see if they were as easy to make as they looked. Besides I love the way drop cloths look when they get washed up with their oatmeal color and warm nubby texture. I did a simple envelope enclosure for the pillow and it couldn't have been easier.

For this type of pillow you are only sewing two straight lines. I will show you what I mean. First lay your pillow out on your fabric to determine how wide it needs to be. You don't want a generous width because otherwise your pillow will be baggy. Cut a 1/2 inch wider that the width of your pillow. For the length you want your strip to be 1/3 longer that the length of your pillow so that you can fold your strip in thirds.

Sew a seam along each side. Inside out and stuff with your pillow.

For this pillow I made some flowers and hand stitched them on. To make the flowers cut a two inch wide strip of fabric and tie a knot at the very end. The length depends on how big you want your flowers. I did two different sizes.

Twist the fabric and wrap it around your knot, using a dab of hot glue every so often to help it maintain its shape. When you have the right size glue the flap onto the back (see picture). You will burn your fingers in the process! Do as many or as few as you want. Have fun! Oh, it was as easy as they say it is!;) This whole project even with the hand stitching of the flowers took about 35 minutes!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gallery Walls

This summer I have been busy with a lot of projects. My favorite has been the start of 3 gallery walls all in different areas of my home. The great thing about a gallery wall is that it can be a bunch of random things, hung in a thoughtful way, that look cohesive. My goal in doing these walls was to do them with things I already had. My only purchase was the "T" on my bedroom wall. Of course a gallery wall can be done with frames that are all the same style, but what fun would that be! :)

This is my bedroom wall. I like how it looks but I could also add to it over time.

This is my daughter's bedroom wall. Her's is a collection of more random things.  The only purchase was the scrapbook paper that I put in a frame that I had. This frame was originally black but I spray painted it white.

My hall wall continues to be a work in progress. If you don't have pictures the size of your frame, give your kiddo paint or crayons in your color theme and have them go at it. I have no idea what this painting is, but it was done by one of my kids and is a precious addition to the wall.

I mentioned that my purchase for my daughter's wall was scrapbook paper. This is such an inexpensive way to bring pattern, color and design to a room.

Here are a few other places I have used scrapbook paper. The letters you see on top of the paper were just printed off of the computer and glued on.
 I hope this has inspired you just a smidge!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School Organization

It is hard to believe how fast the summer has gone, but here we are! In the midst of all of the chaos, I find a bit of planning keeps me sane. I like to start my back-to-school shopping as soon as the signs go up in July so that I can be picky and search for the best deals. A master list was my friend this year, with three kids lists to juggle. With all the shopping now behind me and one week to go before the big event (first day of school), its time to prepare the house! :)  Here's what I've done!

      1.     Prepare the landing zone. You know, the place where the kiddos come in and unload on. We have a small entry way so maximizing this space is key. All of the shoes go into shoe baskets. Coats on hooks at their level just inside the closet door. And backpacks go inside the hutch cabinet. On the bottom shelf, below the backpacks we keep school and church library books.

     2.     Paper storage. I've always said that I need a secretary just to manage all of the school papers. Since that's not in the budget, we're going with plan B. Homework gets done right after the after school snack, and papers go right back into their backpacks. Papers that include school letters, upcoming projects, field trip info, etc., go in these plastic drawers, each with their name. Spelling lists get taped to the front of a kitchen cabinet so that we can practice throughout the week. On the inside of this cabinet I have a list of their schedules (which day is library, gym, art, etc.)

Once all four are in school I will be looking for one of these babies from Ballard Designs:

     3.     Lunch prep. I have worked out a sweet deal with my hubby. He makes the sandwiches for the kids lunches and I pack the goodies. This works well for us because I dislike sandwich prep completely! To make things easy (and probably a little healthier), each of the kids has their own water bottle that I fill up each morning. I keep stocked a snack bin. Anything packaged that comes in a box gets dumped out into the bin so that they can be easily grabbed. I'm too cheap to splurge on prepackaged chips, so this is the only item I have to bag in the morning. Fruit is always easy to throw in as well.

     4.     Keeping kids on task. I work outside of the home 2 days a  week, so I am gone in the morning before the kids leave. With my hubby trying to get himself ready for work we have come up with a system that works for us. First, I always lay out the kids clothes the night before and I put them in the same place every day. Second, backpacks are packed up with everything but their lunches and put by the door. Third, the kids each have a laminated cue card that lists the expectations for each morning. After the first month they no longer need to look at their cards, but when we come home after school if a step was missed (like not making their bed) they don't get to play outside. The list includes: eat breakfast, take care of dishes, wash face, brush teeth, get dressed, comb hair, make bed, and pick up bedroom. A copy is also put on the wall in their bathroom to reference if they don't have their cue card. To keep things consistent, these things are expected each day during the summer and breaks too.

This is not a list of the best ideas that will work for everyone, this is a list of what works for us. I hope that one or two of these ideas might work for you too. I would love to have you leave me a comment of an idea that I haven't included that works for you!

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