Mar 15, 2016

For the Love of Power Tools

My love for power tools and learning to do simple projects on my own is growing.  With time and patience, I've taken over doing any necessary molding projects around our home.  A few weeks ago, I finished installing the board and batton in our basement family room.  A couple of weeks after that, some unfinished molding on the stairwell down to the basement.  Annnd in that same swoop of getting things done, I redid the molding around our new front door. ...when the new door went in, the spacing for the board and batton was different than what it was around the old door.  Anyway, long boring story, but the molding beside the door, needed to be fixed.

Step 1:  cut and nail in thin smooth board.

Step 2:  cut to size the mdf base board, thinner top board, and even thinner than that cap piece.

Step 3:  caulk and paint.

It feels so good to finally finish these projects that have been left undone forever.  It feels even better to know I did them myself.  I wasn't as fast or consise  as a professional, I'm sure.  But self reliance feels great!

Mar 8, 2016

Bookshelf Styling

We are only a couple of weeks away from spring!  (Cue angels singing.)  Lately, I've been feeling so antsy for sunshine and warmer weather.  To combat that antsy feeling, I've been fluffing my nest as often as time allows.  One of the things I've been doing is some minor tweaking of the books and things on our living room built-ins.

I will just start out by saying, I know nothing about bookshelf styling.  All I know is what I like and what I don't like.  I think most of us can all say that.  We know when we like something a certain way and we know when something looks off.

I recently bought two new matching baskets from Marshalls for both of the top shelves.  I've always had baskets on the top shelves to house a collection of random books.  But the old baskets were very dark in color and just seemed very "heavy" to me.  I like the light airy color of these baskets much better and I like that they are identical because symmetry is something I like.

Here are a few other things I like when it comes to styling bookshelves:
• a combination of books and other cute or meaningful objects (mostly books)
• enough white space... I want to see part of the back of the bookshelf.  It makes everything feel lighter to me.
•combine like color objects... I like to do this with my books (with these bookshelves, I chose to use a combination of blue, yellow and green book spines, along with neutrals)
•the last, and probably most important thing I do, is the style and step back method :-)  I style an object or group of books, step back, and then keep it if I like it, or change things around until I do.  It's all about trial and error.

Have you been fluffing your nest in anticipation of spring?

Mar 1, 2016

Think Green

The color green has been on my mind a lot lately, and not just because it's almost St. Patrick's Day.  Everything around us seems mostly dormant and brown at the moment.  It's so depressing.  I realize how much I love color when, because of the weather, nature seems to lack much of it.   

Yesterday, I was driving around on some errands with my husband and noticed a tree beginning to blossom and a few trees with a tiny glimmer of green on their branches and I literally shrieked with joy.  My husband was kind of like, "Wow, you get excited about the simplest things."  Haha.  And it's true, I sometimes do.

I planted some sugar snap peas in the tiny little green house pictured above.  I can't wait to transplant them in my garden and add a little green to our own landscape.

Speaking of landscaping... This summer we're completely re-landscaping our backyard.  We're adding fruit trees, rock, a retaining wall, and an in ground trampoline.  I'm excited to see the changes.  Are any of you excited to get outside and get your hands dirty?

Feb 23, 2016

Bye Bye Gold Stove

Last October, my husband and I were talking about selling our home.  We were looking at some homes with acreage... with room for bigger animals (like horses) and more room to roam for our family.  But before we could put it on the market, we went from room to room, making a quick project list of some things we should probably change or finish up.  One of the things that stuck out to us like a sore thumb was our old 70's harvest gold stove.  We thought we'd sell faster if the stove was replaced.  So we moseyed our way down to that big orange box home improvement store, on a mission to find an updated stove.  Since we were "just replacing it to sell" we didn't want to go "all out".  A nice flat top white stove would suffice.

We found our stove and hoped for a quick in and out, replacing one stove for another.

That didn't happen as seamlessly as we had hoped.  The gold stove didn't go all the way to the back of the wall.  So we would have to cut the back part of the old counter top to make the new stove fit.  We knew we couldn't sell our home with a countertop that had been cut.  (That would look terrible!). So back to the big box, orange home improvement store to look for an inexpensive, quick countertop option.  We found a great faux granite version that would "appeal to most buyers".  But THEN we realized that this in stock countertop would require us to put in a new window.  (Remember that book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"?  Yup.  This story kind of unfolds like that.  One thing kept leading to another.)  Our current window was huge and went all the way down to the existing countertop. There was no backsplash.  The new countertops came with a backsplash...
So we shopped for a new window that was slightly smaller and would allow for a backsplash.  My husband installed it and then had to patch in some new sheetrock underneath it for the backsplash to but up against.

New sheetrock meant new texture too, blending the old sheetrock with the new. Such a mess!  But the small finishing touches make all the difference in the end.

I gave the old cupboards a fresh coat of white paint and then had to repaint the walls too (Dolphin Fin by Behr) after they had been textured.

Here is the final product of all those little changes.  I decided to remove all of the doors on the top cabinets for a more open look.  It's a small kitchen and I felt like removing some of the doors made the space feel an itty bitty bit bigger.

We also ended up replacing the light fixture above the window and left the blinds off the window.  It lets in so much natural light and we love it.  Also, because our home is a split level and our kitchen window is on the second story (and we don't have any backyard neighbor's) we still had enough privacy to keep this window blind-less.

And then guess what?  My husband and I kept thinking and praying about the houses we were looking at buying and ended up feeling like we were supposed to stay where we were for the time being.    I was really happy with the kitchen updates.  Our kitchen was now far better than it used to be.  But I'll shamelessly admit I cried.  We spent all this money installing new kitchen products that would update the space enough to be able to sell our house quick.  However, I didn't pick out the stove or the kind of countertops or new cabinets I was in LOVE with.  I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but for a few days I was kind of sad about the whole process.  Luckily, I got over it.  My husband agreed to install some pretty white subway tile in here this summer to make it more "me" and I had to put this all into the right perspective.  A kitchen is just a place to prepare food for my family.  A place to teach my kiddos how to cook and clean up a meal, a place to linger with friends and laugh and share stories. All of those things still happen whether your stove is gold, stainless, or somewhere in between.  In the grand scheme of things, it's just a place, a thing.  I'm grateful for this space and I'm grateful I get to keep making memories here with my family.  

Feb 19, 2016


We have six chickens that live in a cute white chicken coop, in our garden, situated in the far left corner of our backyard.  As a child, I never imagined I'd have chickens as an adult.  Not unless I ended up marrying a farmer someday... which I didn't btw.  :)

My husband and I actually dream of owning a home in the country someday.  But for now, our destiny lies in suburban life and I'm grateful our city allows us to enjoy the best of both worlds.  We get to live by great neighbor's on a quiet street and we get to enjoy a tiny taste of farm life with animals that are a little less common to the average family.

These ladies are super low maintenance, easy to handle, and produce the most delicious eggs.
Aren't the shells of these eggs beautiful? And would you believe the yokes inside are so bright orange that when our chickens first started laying, and I scrambled up our first backyard chicken eggs, my children thought I'd added cheese to the concoction.  Nope, just really healthy egg yokes!

P.S.  We have three Rhode Island Red chickens that lay brown eggs and three Brahmas that lay the pretty greenish blue eggs.  Both types of chickens have been excellent layers for us.  We average about four eggs a day from this group all together.

Feb 1, 2016

Painted House

Last summer we spent two months giving the exterior of our home a makeover.  

We replaced the front door with more of a craftman style door, got rid of the window to the right of the door, and added some chunky white trim for added charm.  I couldn't believe what a huge transformation it was, just replacing the door!

The next thing we did was tear out all of the existing molding around the exterior.  It all looked very "70's" style and half of it was so old it was rotting away.

My husband installed all new molding around the windows and edges and corners of the house.  It's kind of hard to tell in this picture what is new, since you can still see those vertical lines where the old molding around the windows used to be.

The next thing we did was seal and patch every. single. seam and nail hole around the ENTIRE house.  This took us FOREVER.  But it's all that detail work that made the biggest difference in the end.  After the paint went on, our 70's looking siding, looked brand new!  It was seriously worth all of the tedious work and long hot days.

With my husband's paint sprayer and a scissor lift the bishop from our church lent us, my husband was able to paint two coats around our entire house in just five hours.
The molding around our garage doors, and windows and such was painted white.  We also added new matching light fixtures around our garage doors and by our front door.  The light fixtures were purchased at Lowes and then we spray painted them a flat black.  

Without showing you the entire exterior, for privacy reasons of course, here is a before and after.  The top picture shows what our home looked like when we bought it, and the bottom picture is what it looks like now.

It was a lot of work doing all of the prep and painting by ourselves.  Hiring it out would have been nice.  But we knew we were perfectly capable of doing all the work ourselves and doing it this way saved us a lot of money.  The reward of what it looks like now was totally worth all that hot sweaty summer time and effort.

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