Monday, April 14, 2014

Kids Art Gallery From Dollar Store Frames

It's been over a month since we painted the navy accent walls in our living/dining room and up to now they've sat tall and empty.  In our last home we make a not-so-serious kid's art gallery out of dollar store frames for the dining room.  I pulled this pic from our home tour page....
kids art gallery using dollar store frames
We grabbed a handful of "fancy" frames in different finishes from the Dollar Tree, removed the glass, and gave them all a coat of glossy white spray paint.  We affixed some paper clips to the frames that could hold the kids art work, and called it done! 

It was a fun and simple way to display the kids' projects and keep the dining room from feeling too stuffy.  Formal is not the way our family rolls on the day-to-day, so adding a little charm and whimsy to our formal spaces helps them from taking themselves too seriously.

I wanted to bring the frames back to our new dining space but the taller ceilings called for a switch up in the layout.   Some tweaks to the grouping and we now have ourselves a new and improved art gallery wall.
kids art gallery using dollar store frames

Some of the paper clips snapped off in the move, so we decided to go with washi tape and mounted the pictures directly onto the wall.
kids art gallery using dollar store frames

kids art gallery using dollar store frames

Thanks to this ridiculous winter, we gathered quite the collection of board games.  Our family likes to play here at the table or at the couch.  So, keeping the games out and accessible made sense for us. 
kids art gallery using dollar store frames
 Our current favorites are on top and others are stored in the buffet.

kids art gallery using dollar store frames

The small bowl next to the pitcher holds some of our card games and decks. 
kids art gallery using dollar store frames

We're all about making this house work for our family.  There are no rules about what can't or should go in your dining room.  Some spaces will be formal and others not-so much.  We still have some other blank walls to address in this room, and by the time we're done I hope we have a nice mix of classic meets fun. 

How do you display your kid's art?  Do you prefer a formal dining room or casual spaces? 


Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Office Update

Oh you guys.  I should have know.  Never make an internet proclamation that you will be finished with a large project by such-and-such date.  As I did on Monday. 

In my over-optimism, I hoped to have my office wrapped up by today.  Most of my final projects involved paint and the forecast was not cooperating.  First rain, then wind, and then on Wednesday it was perfect. 

Fortunately, I had several pieces that were all getting a fresh coat of Rustoleum's Champagne Gold, so I lined them up and went to town.  That's my dissembled  IKEA Raskog cart that I use as my sewing station, a large white board, and the handles to my file cabinet.

I was also able to tone down my very violet paint for the ceiling.  The swatch on the right is still a little wet in this pic and I ended up lighting it a hair more from that by mixing the original Whipped Plum by Valspar with the same Grey Shimmer (also Valspar) that we used in the living/dining room. 

We're taking a quick road trip to South Bend for the Blue & Gold game this weekend.  So, my freshly painted pieces should be well dried and cured by the time we return...and that ceiling will be next.  Bring on the neck cramp! 

Slowly but surely we're almost there.   Have a great weekend!


Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How To Keep Your Curtains From Sliding All Over The Rod

So, this may not be post-worthy....but maybe??

My mom was visiting and commented on how I had hung our curtains so they don't slide all over the bar.  It made me wonder if it was something that could help any of my fellow OCD curtain peeps out there.

It's nothing fancy, just in the way you place the curtain rings/clips/tabs on the rod. I give you the simplest fix ever....
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar

Don't mind my unfinished curtain panels for demonstration here....

When I'm ready to hang curtains, I extend the curtain rod about an inch or two beyond the rod-mount hardware instead of having the finial flush against it (adjust your measurements accordingly).  Then, I make sure I put the end clip to the outside of the mounting hardware. 
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar
That end clip becomes an anchor and doesn't go past the rod mount.  So, when I close the curtains it keeps the outer end of the panel in place instead of having the entire panel slide down the rod.

Makes it super easy to open and close your curtains without the skiwampus joyride. 
Such a simple way to keep your curtains from sliding all over the bar
This obviously works for curtains hung with drapery clips, tabs, or some sort of individual hanger.  Although, you could probably cut a slit in a pocket rod curtain panel where your mounting hardware is for the same effect. 

Ahhh, the little things. What simple household tricks do you have?


Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

All Grown Up

Not my children....me.  I've been making my bed every day for the past week!  I know.  Send me a medal or a congratulatory bouquet of roses.  Wait, make that tulips.

In the past I've touted the importance of creating a haven amidst the chaos in your home...and how your own bedroom shouldn't be bumped to the very bottom of your "make home" list...and then I promptly ignored all that great advice in our last home.  In fact, we had just started on our master bedroom when we got the news that our family was headed to Ohio. 

I told myself that I would not let our bedroom become a dumping ground this time around.  No, Siree.  Not one little random moving box. Nope.

Well...just be glad I didn't grab a before pic.  "Dumping ground" would be an understatement for our master bedroom.

Even though I'm in the midst of spring cleaning, this particular purge was not a planned out event.  In fact, I went into our room with the intent to clean the bathroom mirror.  Then something took over.  Maybe it was the boxes I had to dodge just to get in the bathroom or maybe it was the random white board propped against the even more random conglomeration of benches (4 to be exact).  But I couldn't take it any longer. 

I emptied the whole room of "extras", dusted, vacuumed, put things back together, and distributed all those extras to their rightful homes. I took me about 2 hours from start to finish, but it felt amazing....
 
We clearly have done about zero in the way of design or decorating in here, but there is just something so calming about a space that can breath...

And being able to walk to your bed or to the bathroom on a path that is wider than 12 inches...

My grandmother's settee also landed in here when I started working on my office (update on that this week - promise, promise!!).  And I like it. 
I still haven't decided on a fabric to reupholster it, but I think I'll wait until we have a better idea of what we want to do in here. 

It felt so good to have this space cleared out and clean that I've been motivated to make the bed everyday. I'm not a stickler for that type of thing, but in a house with a lot of undone, a made bed is serenity.

And even though this room is far from "done" or even a reflection of our personal tastes, it's my favorite room to be in right now.  Also.  I feel the need to immediately smooth out any wrinkles on the bed anytime a little person jumps sits on it.  I'm sure that OCD will pass, but for now I'm in "preserve the goodness as long as possible" mode. 

Are you a make your bed every day person or a why bother type?


Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Coffee Break: The Case For Space

We had a sick little girl earlier this week and awoke to our 3-year thowing up this morning.  Soooo...movies, laundry, and anything that doesn't require a whole lot of energy are on the agenda for today.  We've also had a ton of rain that's put painting on hold for the last of my office projects.  So, while my office waits patiently for me to come back around, I thought we would chat a little bit about home size. 

It seems there's been a shift from super sized McMansions to serious downsizing.  Smaller is the new big, and I can completely see why.  There is something liberating about letting go of a huge chunk of your possessions in order to embrace a different kind of lifestyle, where you spend less time maintaining all the stuff and more time enjoying life....less separation and more family time...less money towards a huge house and more financial freedom.

But what if you aren't there?  What if you aren't in the position to pick up and move, or simply don't have the desire for a smaller house?

I say, fine!  Because the bottom line is that it doesn't matter how many square feet comprise your home.  It's all about how you use them.

If you're frustrated by the size of your home (big or small) but don't have the option to move, there are ways to make the best out of an imperfect space.

Ideas for the overwhelmed in big homes looking to simplify...

- Purge! If you do have a big ole house that's a beast to keep up with, try purging down the items you have. Fight the urge to fill it up with more stuff.  It will be much easier to maintain with less in it.

-Get rid of the small chachki's and embrace larger pieces. Just a few can fill a space and have a much bigger impact than a bunch of little decor items.  And it's much easier to clean a few large items than dozens of little ones.

-Reconsider how you use each room. Are you using all that space in the way that works best for your family?  Do you have an office but constantly bring your computer down to the couch to work?  Do you end up spreading craft stuff all over the kitchen table?  Maybe creating a small workspace in the corner of the living room and turning that underused office into a craft room is a better use of space. Think about how you actually live in your home right now and whether or not the current set up supports how your family lives there. Go ahead and break the rules!  A bedroom doesn't have to stay a bedroom, and the other rooms in your home are whatever you need them to be.



For those in small homes praying for a little more space....

-Purge! Pardon the broken record, but by now you all know that purging has saved my sanity and brought my heart back to the right place on many occasion.  Clutter can accumulate and take over a space very quickly.  When living in small spaces, keeping only what you love, need, and actually use is key.

-Go for double duty function.  Any piece of furniture that gives you a big bang for your buck is essential in a small home.  Ottoman with hidden storage as a coffee table?  Yes!  Storage bins that slide under the bed?  Oh yeah.  Flexible seating?  Please!  The more function you can get out of a single piece, the more precious space you will free up.

-Bunk up the kids.  When bedroom space is tight, get creative.  Can two kids with their own rooms, now share?  Being able to free up an entire room is huge!  If the rooms are already at max capacity, think about the furniture....bunk beds and loft beds can free up valuable floor space giving much needed breathing room.  The murphy bed is another one of those amazing space saving solutions.  Get creative and don't be afraid to mix things up!

-Take advantage of any outdoor space.  Creating a great dining or seating area in the backyard can make it feel like you've gained a whole other room!  At least for a few months out of the year anyway.  Do you use all of your garage?  Turning part of it into a game or movie area is another way to "expand your house".


Ultimately, it's all about how we view and use our space.  There's no need to play the comparison game.  We can all celebrate our different homes with each other.  Have a friend that loves living small or is looking to downsize?  Enjoy the excitement of the adventure with her, even if it's not for you.  Have a home with a lot of space?  Open it up to friends and use it as a place to gather and enjoy community.  Don't be swayed either way by the trends of the times.  We each have to discern whether or not we're called to make a change in the way we live.  It's personal and different for each of us.  The good news is that we can all live simply and live well, regardless of the size of our homes.

Happy Weekend!


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Desk vs. Nightstand

That title makes it sound like a stand off, but I really hope it ends up being more of a happy marriage!  When we started working on my office update, a larger workspace was high on the priority list.  So, my old desk got the boot...
 (back at our first house...with my BABY!!)

Rather than donate or sell it right away, I tried to think of another area in the house it might be used.  I temporarily shoved it next door into our master bedroom and realized that it might be the answer to our wimpy nightstand dilemma.  I was originally going to troll craigslist for a larger set, but it turns out there was just enough room for my old desk to fit next to the bed. 

It wasn's planning on that arrangement, but the more I live with it the more I love it.  And these pretty desk-turned-nightstand setups have me excited for what we can do...



The desk doubles as a nightstand and workspace, but since I have an office space in the works I think I'm going to make this more of a prayer/study/quiet/no kids allowed corner.  It might be easier for me to get in some quiet time in the morning if all I have to do is roll out of bed and land on a chair.  

Since we'll need something with similar dimensions on James' side of the bed for balance, I'm thinking a dresser might be the answer.  Our closet has some built in drawers for clothes, but it might be nice to have an added piece of storage for extra linens, books and seasonal items.  Something similar to this...


What about you.....does anyone else use a non-nightstand as a nightstand?  How do you feel about mismatched nightstands?  Do they make your eyes do crazy things or are they perfectly imperfect?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!
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