Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkeys and Room Updates

Hey, there!  Oh what's that...a post the day before Thanksgiving?  Is it a gift guide?  A roundup of delectable holiday dishes?  Steals & Deals for Black Friday?  A picture montage of my perfect tablescape?

No, friends.  That would make sense.  

It's my daughters unfinished room.  Of course. #sleepdeprivedmomblogger #stillthawingtheturkey

I was really pushing to share a full room reveal with you last Friday - because that's what DIY bloggers do, right?  But things don't happen quite that fast around here these days, especially during flu season and right before a big holiday!

So, because it will drive me (and my mom) crazy if I don't post an update, I'm giving up on a full room reveal post before Thanksgiving.  Instead, I'm serving up a peak at the room as it looks right this very second.  I didn't even bother to make the bed or style anything for photos.

But first, a refresher...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder
We had quite the disaster zone on our hands and you guys, it is SO MUCH BETTER. Mostly because our sweet girl was finally able to really purge her stuff.  If she hadn't donated almost half of her accumulated crap beloved treasures, we could not have created this fresh and functional space.

After going through every last item, we brought in the game changer...
Mia had a beautiful Jenny Lind bed and vanity that my parents found at a garage sale and had painted white for her.  She also had my childhood dresser and a large dollhouse.  None of those pieces really pulled a lot of weight when it came to storage.

We tried to squeeze in a couple of bookcases on either side of her bed to mimic a built-in setup I had envisioned in my head.  It was nice in theory, but I don't even want to talk about how many times I had to crawl under that bed to fish out things of great importance (like chapstick and library books) that had fallen to their doom.  More importantly we squeezed two more large pieces of furniture into an already overcrowded, very small room.

I had a come to Jesus moment and accepted that a built-in ($$$) wasn't really in the cards anytime soon.  And this room needed HELP stat.  So, we identified a few items of furniture from other areas of the house we could sell to help fund a room makeover of the IKEA variety.

This HEMNES daybed (on sale this month if you're an IKEA Family member!) framed by two slim HEMNES bookcases was the perfect solution.  This guy allowed us to combine two big pieces of furniture (bed and dresser) into one.

The drawers are super deep and provided more than enough storage for her clothes (in addition to her closet space).

We swapped out the standard issue IKEA knobs from something a little more substantial and blingy.

Maybe my favorite part of the new room are these two MINUT wall sconces we attached to each of the bookcases.

 We already had one mounted to her wall before we started this overhaul.  Mia uses it all the time and asked to keep it, so we added another for symmetry and so she can read on either end of the bed at night.

 They come in a silver finish, but we gave them a coat of gold a la spray can and now they fit right in.

We found these sweet polka dot numbers at Target to hold books Mia's currently reading.

And these mint colored baskets from the dollar spot were perfect for corralling all the little things.  Like Shopkins.  #Lordhelpme

 I'll do a full breakdown of how we organized the room to maximize form and function once we finish up this space.  We still have some blank walls to spruce up, but those piles under the vanity are stacked art just waiting for a spot to shine.

The vanity could also use a few paint touch-ups from being dinged in the move and I have some fun new hardware that I'm way too excited about....

And this.  The bane of my existence.  

I will also do a tutorial on this balloon valance (which will consist mostly of "what not to do"), IF I can actually get it finished.  Right now the sides are all droopy droopy, and I want them more even swoopy.  Like on the right here.  Or something like that.

As for the furniture we replaced?  We moved my old dresser down to the guest room to hold linens and offer extra storage when guests are staying with us.  And I'm just so excited that Livy will get to use the same special bed as her big sis once she's ready to transition out of a crib.  Which won't be for a long. long time.....RIGHT?

Speaking of Livy, I'm having a bit of a moment.......tomorrow is this babe's first Thanksgiving, soon to be followed by her first Christmas, and then her first birthday.  Just, how?!?!?!  I can't even imagine our lives without her. It has not been an easy year, but it has been so, so good.  We have so much to be thankful for, including the friends that we'll be sharing our Thanksgiving dinner with tomorrow.   I love Ohio, but the hardest part (about all our moves) is being so far from my family.  But God has been incredibly faithful to provide us with friends who have become our second family wherever we have gone.  Their support has carried us more than ever this year.

So, let's hope we can figure out how to get five dishes (including a giant turkey) cooked with one oven by the time they arrive.  We're ready to feast, and play games, and watch football, and pour some wine.  We hope you all have a wonderful weekend doing the same.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
 photo f1_zps95f50ae9.png  photo f2_zps8e4c66fe.png  photo f4_zpsabace950.png  photo instaw_zps951d8ab3.png

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I Invested In My Blog This Year and a Peak at House For Six!

OK.  So I realize that my current post rate of one post per week doesn't exactly scream "Blog Go-Getter".  Ahem.....however.

We had a baby in January and I knew that this year would look different for the blog.  I hoped to step back for a few weeks while we found our new groove as a fam of six, and then planned to ease back into to a regular posting routine.

Ha!  Did you see that?  I said the word 'plan'. So silly of me.

We certainly didn't plan on a colicky baby with reflux that consumed our every waking moment, but that was our reality for the first few months.  Some people probably thought the logical thing to do was walk away from the blog for awhile.  But I was surprised to find that I had a lot of new ideas swirling for blog content and art.  I also had this conviction to regain some focus and purpose in blogging.

Since my hands were rarely free for typing or crafting or photographing, I spent those first colicky months praying, reading, and researching while I snuggled a either sleeping or screaming babe.

I really wanted to attend the Haven conference, but well....colicky baby.  And while I might have been able to swing the ticket, the added cost of a plane ticket/rental car/hotel/food, put it over the budgeting edge for me.  Instead I put some birthday money towards two e-courses that I knew would help me with some goals I have for this e-space.

There are other courses out there aimed at teaching Adobe Illustrator, but this one had great reviews and was really affordable.   I just finished the last class online and oh my goodness, it's so good!!  Emily is a fantastic teacher and was able to sift through all of Illustrator's capabilities to compile a course that stuck to the essentials for graphic design.   I would have been far too intimidated to attempt learning that program on my own.  Emily's teaching style made it easy to learn and my head is spinning with ideas!

I saw that registration is open for the last course offering this year.  If you've ever wanted to learn Illustrator, I can't recommend it enough.  Her second course with more advanced techniques might be going on my Christmas list.

The second course was more of an investment, but was worth every penny: the Design Your Brand course with Lauren from Elle & Co.
(image via Elle & Co)

The fact that our blog is still "House For Five" and resident #6 is 10 months old makes me a little twitchy #OCDersunite.  Not to mention, any of my attempts at blog design for House For Five have been all over the place.  I wanted to hurry up and change it by the end of summer, but I am SO GLAD I waited to complete Lauren's course.

I might have been able to put an OK design together for the site, but it would not have been nearly as thought out, intentional, consistent, or long standing.  I would have loved to pay someone to redesogn the blog, but again, this was the best decision for my budget.  And even though it's been much more work, I know the result is going to be a hundred times better that what I would have pieced together on my own.

I've been forced to narrow down the mission statement, focus and characteristics for House For Six.  Lauren asks us to come up with 10 adjectives to identify our blog/business.  I landed on fun, modern, personal, practical, fresh, whimsical, inviting, organized, encouraging, and joyful.

Here's how that came together in my inspiration board:

Since I blog about home, I thought our website should reflect what you see inside our own, but it's also my little happy spot on the interwebs,  So, while this board certainly captures the style you'll find throughout our house, it's also a reflection of my more feminine tastes.

I've been in the weeds, translating that board into a cohesive design for the new site and shop.  I'm so excited with how it's shaping up and can't wait to share it with you!

I know it's felt a little slower on the blog these past few months - I'm thankful you've stuck with me!

*We're wrapping up the final details on our girl's new (read: clean) space and I'm hoping to get it blogged before the weekend!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
 photo f1_zps95f50ae9.png  photo f2_zps8e4c66fe.png  photo f4_zpsabace950.png  photo instaw_zps951d8ab3.png

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Last week my mom came in from CA for a fall visit.  Whenever we get together you can bet that some sort of project is going down, and this time I needed her help with our worst hoarding offender: the 8 year old.

Mia's room has always been a challenging space.  We've made worthy attempts to tackle the form and function of this little collecter's room more times than I can count.  We did a big overhaul in NM with a massive purging and organizing effort.

It cleaned up well...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

But inevitably, it always returned to its train wreck status.

I had to laugh (after I cried) when I went looking for pics of her room back in Albuquerque...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

It's basically the same room 2 years later, the mess just relocated to Ohio...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

I know that having a pristine space (with or without kids) is not real life.  But this situation was out of control.  She really could not pick up her room, because it was so overwhelming, At one point there was literally a path from the door to her bed, and the rest of the floor was covered in STUFF.

I desperately hoped (and genuinely believed) that we could create a fun and functional space for our daughter.  One that she could actually maintain, regardless of her personality and hoarding inclinations.  And I think we have finally #praiseJesus got there.

I'll share more about how we tackled some of the problem areas in the room's set up when I share her new space next week, but it truly would not have happened if she hadn't surprised us all and donated half of her stuff.

Really.  I can't even believe I just typed that sentence and it's actually true.

It took us a long time to get here and I don't have a magical solution for the reluctant giver, but if you're a fellow parent to a mini hoarder, I would offer this from our experience:

-Start young.  It obviously took a few years until Mia was ready to do this on her own.  Sure she donated a few things here and there before now, but to part ways with the hard things....the things she really liked but didn't need...that took time.

Some kids are much more inclined to giving than others and some attach more value to their things.   Either way, I think it helped that we encouraged Mia to go through her room and donate things she no longer played with or needed early on (around age 2 or 3).  Even if she only gave away one or two things, it was a start.  One more brick towards a good foundation.

-Forcing it can backfire.  Some will disagree, but if I force Mia to give her things away (which I have) and she's not ready #cuewaterworks, then she hasn't really given anything away.  I took something away from her and gave it to someone else.   And resentment can easily follow.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you're trying to accomplish.  If I want to nurture a giving heart in my children for the long haul, then they eventually need to give willingly from a place of gratitude (for what they have) and compassion (for those who don't).  Yet they may never give anything away if we don't hold them to a certain standard.   It's a tough balance to strike.

We never removed the expectation of giving to those in need and not allowing our lives to be consumed by stuff, but we gave Mia time to come to a place where she was ready to let go of some favorites of her own accord....hopefully paving the way for easier giving in the future.

-Don't dismiss their feelings.  I'm embarrassed to admit the number of "friendsies" we allowed Mia to have.  It was something that happened very slowly over the past few years, but she had accumulated quite the stuffed legion.

We had many talks about how blessed we are and our responsibility to give to others in good it feels to give, to bless another child with less, or who has nothing at all.  But Mia had developed an emotional attachment to these friends.

A lot of changes happened throughout her younger years, including growing our family and 6 different homes before she had even turned 4 years old.  So, we understood that her things (especially her stuffed animals) were constants for her.

While it was tempting to just rip off the bandaid so to speak, we knew that in her tender heart, this was difficult and she needed our help working through it.  For these particular toys, it was about breaking the attachment.

We sat down with every single one of her "friendsies" (not hard because they were already all over the floor) and went through them one by one.  We put the ones she wanted to keep directly on her bed, and ones for donation went into a black bag.  If there was something she wasn't sure about I gave her a minute to think about it, and if she still wasn't sure we put it in a separate pile that we revisited at the end.

How could I tell she was ready this time?  No tears and good judgement.  She was able to distinguish between toys that either had special meaning or she loved playing with, and those that did not hold as much meaning for her.  When we've tried this in the past she was just overcome with emotion, not able to make any decisions.

I honestly can't tell you what finally flipped the switch, but we prepped the kids that we would be cleaning out our rooms that weekend and when the time came she was ready.  I think she also realized that at some point she would have to do it.  We had talked many times about needing to address her room and about working on it when my mom came to visit. She was excited for that - good motivation perhaps.

-Deal directly with regret.  The first night after clearing out Mia's room (a total of two big donation bags and two bags of trash), she came down and said she couldn't sleep because she felt lonely and that her room felt different.

Well, it was different.  She hadn't seen the floor in weeks.  We moved out a few big pieces of furniture, so the room felt much more open - in her mind "big and empty".  Even though it was clearly a change for the better, it felt very unfamiliar and lots of her familiar things were gone.

We tucked her back in and focused on the things she did keep....the ones that are the most special.  We laughed about how her room did look different and talked about how much fun we would have making it feel more like her own space with all the projects we still had planned.  She was able to sleep and the next day she had a ball spreading out with her toys on the open floor. Toys she was easily able to clean up when she was done.

I think a few tears are OK in learning to purge.  Change can be hard and kids have a tough time seeing the big picture.  They may regret giving something away, but it's important to resist the urge to replace it and focus instead on helping them move forward.

-Clear it out when they're gone I think it's wonderful and necessary to include our kids in the purging process, but when they're young I fully support swooping in with a bag to clear stuff out when they're away from the house.  It's easy to identify the toys our kids regularly play with and enjoy the most...and the stuff that just sits at the bottom of a basket.  Now there may be other toys our kids would enjoy but just can't access or even see because they're lost in the abyss.  Fine.

But we all know the crap.  The cheap stuff  that breaks or doesn't really do much of anything (hey there, Happy Meal toys)....the things that don't spark creativity....the paper "treasures" that breed in the back of desk drawers.  Toss it all in a bag (one you can't see through!) and get rid of it quick. If you want to be on the safe side, keep it in the garage for a week or two, and if the kids haven't asked for the items, then go ahead and donate.  Chances are they won't even notice it's gone.

-Lead the way.  Purge and donate often.  Let them see you do it.  Talk out loud about why you are giving something away.  "You know, I have two black shirts that look a lot alike.  I really only need one and I know someone else could use this"  "These pants don't really fit me anymore"  "This vase is really pretty, but I never use it".  Believe me, they are watching. Your example is one of the strongest influences on their young hearts.  Our attitude towards our possessions will affect how our children view their own things. So, keep it up!

-Make it a regular thing.  It's important that our children learn that going through our stuff is not just a one time occassion.  Gifts and new items are always coming into the home, so we have to make purging an ongoing habit.  A seasonal purge seems to work best for us, particularly when we're swapping out clothes for the warm/cool season.  We also do a mini-purge before birthdays and holidays, knowing that new things will be coming in.  If you find a regular time that works best with your family's rhythm, your children will come to expect it.

-Give lots of praise.  Looking back I cringe at the times I put guilt on our kids for not being willing to give to someone else in need...that they couldn't just ditch the dumb dinosaur they bought at the garage sale next door.  I shamed them - if not in my words, certainly in my visible frustration that they could not let go.  And that's never yielded great results.

However, they feel proud and accomplished when we praise their efforts and generosity...when we talk about how God will bless even their smallest act of giving.  Since this purge, Mia has picked up her room and made her bed every day.  We're probably riding a bit of that "new room high" but it's also a hundred times easier for her to clean up now.  There's a place for everything and everything has a place.  And "everything" is drastically less than it was before.

We've made a point to praise her for keeping her space nice, even if it's not perfectly tidy.  This really is new territory for her and we want her to be motivated to keep at it.

-Help them connect.  We've found it also helps to find a way for them to connect the act of giving to a real need. We've talked about the poor and those struggling, but it can feel far removed from our kids' lives.  So, recently we've started using the baby (who they all adore) to put things into context.

"Think about Livy - what if we didn't have enough clothes or blankets to keep her warm?  We would be so thankful for anyone who was willing to help us.  There are a lot of babies (and their brothers and sisters)  that don't have enough clothes or blankets to stay warm...and the weather is getting cold.  We can help!  They don't have toys to play with either and we have a lot we can share."

When we lived in Albuquerque there was a homeless man who we passed on our daily drive to school.  The kids saw me give him some money one day and asked about him.  We talked about what his sign said and why he was there.  They wanted to make him some food and that afternoon they baked him scones.  The next day, we parked the car and I walked over to deliver them to him.  We spent a few minutes talking as Steve told me more of his story.  After that day he was no longer that guy with the sign.

The kids often asked to bake things for Mr. Steve and they wanted to give him our home since he didn't have his own.  They prayed for him to find shelter when the weather was bad and they wanted to help him in whatever way they could.  It was easy for them to give when they knew about the person who had the need.

Use caution and good judgement, but helping your kids connect in a real way with the people we're called to serve and why we're giving, will sow that seed of compassion deeper into their hearts.  Find something that clicks and help them make the personal connection.  Even knowing their hand-me-down clothes were going to their cousins helped.

-Don't give up and pray.  Keep talking about it, keep encouraging, keep trying.  The more they do it, the easier it will be.  If regular purging is part of your routine, then eventually it will be less of a struggle and more of a familiar practice.

And thankfully we're not in this alone.   Growth in giving comes from a combination of consistent efforts in the parental realm.....those same values being reinforced by our community (in places like school, church, and friends' homes)....and the Holy Spirit working in their young hearts.  We've got backup, and that's comforting.

Having my mom here was pivotal in getting through this major purging task with Mia.  She was able to work with her in chunks throughout the day so that it didn't become overwhelming.  My mom even joked, "I'm glad I've watched those hoarding shows so I knew how to deal with her!".  One small decision at a time.  Mia needed a loving and patient adult to help walk her through that process and I'm SO proud of her!   I'll be chatting about the second part of addressing this room bomb next week - how we put it back together in a way our daughter could maintain.  Until then, let's hear from you!

Does anyone else have a mini hoarder on their hands?  What ways have you found to help your kids give and not become so attached to their things?  I think it's time to bring back the one-in-one-out rule over here!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
 photo f1_zps95f50ae9.png  photo f2_zps8e4c66fe.png  photo f4_zpsabace950.png  photo instaw_zps951d8ab3.png

Friday, October 30, 2015

Juju Hat Inspired DIY, in Which I Create an Eyeball

Just for the record, this was supposed to be a legit tutorial in which I offer you a super cost effective way to bring the amazingness of a juju hat into your own home.  But it's not exactly that.

I feel like juju hats must have been a trend I totally missed the first time around.  But no matter.  They seem to be making a come back and I got all excited because who doesn't want a burst of fabulous feathers on their wall?  My husband, that's who. No one!

If you are unfamiliar, a juju hat is actually a headdress made of the most beautiful feathers woven into a raffia base.

Image via House Seven Blog

Gorgeous.  A simple, beautiful statement and a great textural element.  Albeit a very, very pricey element.

I had this big open space on my fireplace, so I thought why not make my own big black feathery adornment for Halloween?  And I did.
DIY juju hat

I couldn't afford real feathers.  Even DIY's I looked up were still quite costly.  But I could afford feather boas from the craft store for $3.99 a pop at 40% off. (Yes, I'm still on a personal spending freeze, but I had set aside a little bit last month for a couple of things I would be working on this month).DIY juju hat

The conversation that ensued the afternoon it was hung above our mantle, confirmed that what I created was not exactly what I intended...

Sully (5 yrs old): "Look, Dad!"

James: " that the project you were helping Mommy with yesterday?"

Sully:  "No.  She made an eyeball!  And she made it all by herself!"

DIY juju hat

I knew I wasn't crazy about it, but ever since Sully deemed it an eyeball I can't see it as anything else.

Should you attempt your own (juju hat or fuzzy eyeball), here are some things you should know....

-This project makes the biggest mess ever.  If James was home during this little craft sesh, he may have died.  There were feathers everywhere.  The regular feathers, but lots of super fine little teeny-tiny feathers that I'm still finding all over the floor, the table, my clothes...everywhere.  If you want to avoid this delightful scenario, never ever cut a feather boa.

-If you are brave enough to cut it into smaller pieces and then attach (like I did with the white) you will need more feathers than you think.
DIY juju hat

If you keep the boa intact and just wrap it around (like I did with the black - much less noticeable with darker colors), You won't need as much.  Although I did try to leave as few gaps as possible for optimal fluff factor.
DIY juju hat

-Go BIG.  In this case, the bigger the better.  Especially if the outer layer sort of blends into the wall color.
DIY juju hat
Mine is way undersized and I'm afraid adding another layer to the outside will only contribute to the eyeball effect or take it more of a bulls-eye route.  I'm sure that won't stop me from trying though.

-Even though it's sort of comical, and not nearly a close replica of a true juju hat, I don't hate it.  I really wanted all black but they didn't have enough black boas.  And when you're working off a clearance rack, you go with what's there.  I think I might even love it if it was all black.  So much so that I might endure the feather debacle one more time to fix it. Maybe.
DIY juju hat

-I wasn't sure how to handle the center so I grabbed one of these.
DIY juju hat

I bent a paper clip and glued it to the center before I added the last boa, and attached the clip onto that.
DIY juju hat

I think it would have been fine without it, but I liked the way it finished it off and was slightly different than the rest of the feather pattern.
DIY juju hat

OK that picture wasn't helpful.  It's not easy to photograph black feathers.  #firstworldproblems

-On the plus side, this project was literally light as a feather, so I just used a command strip hook on the fireplace and glued a paperclip to the back of my circular cardboard base to hang it.
DIY juju hat

DIY juju hat

It didn't pack the elegant Halloween punch I had in mind, but since it does read like an eyeball maybe we can put it in the "creepy" Halloween category?

At least the rest of the room is feeling more like fall, sans the creep factor..... 
DIY juju hat

DIY juju hat

kantha throw

I think we finally have this part of the room figured out and here's a sneaky peak at what's happening on the other side of the room.  Baby gates and all.
DIY juju hat

By the time we finally finished the bones of this space and were ready to move onto details, the holiday season was a knockin'.  I wanted this room to have a  neutral base, so that I could easily change things up for the seasons.  So, far it's been perfect.  Not perfect as in perfectly styled (did you see the baby fence?), but perfect as in it only takes a few changes via pillows and throws to give the room a totally different feel.  I think the next few months are going to be a lot of fun.

*Pssst!  Did you catch the Giveaway we're running this week?  TWO amazing prints of your choice from Hatch Prints Shop, AND a gift card of your choice to either IKEA or Target.  Something to help make things feel a little more like home in your casa.  Hope over to this post to enter!  Ends Friday at midnight.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
 photo f1_zps95f50ae9.png  photo f2_zps8e4c66fe.png  photo f4_zpsabace950.png  photo instaw_zps951d8ab3.png