Monday, December 21, 2009

Ready for Christmas

Okay - so we used the time this weekend to get the house ready for Christmas. We've got our inexpensive, yet live, Christmas tree up and decorated; the mantle is completed; and the stockings are hung with hope that St. Nick.... Nevermind.....

Anyway, as you can see, I used the aqua, silver, and white theme. I bought the tree skirt from JoAnn Fabric. It is just silver brocade fabric I purchased at 60% off plus another 80%. It's not hemmed or shaped for a tree skirt. I just used pinking shears on the edges and threw it around the base of the tree. It's my version of the "Tree Skirt Mistreatment"

You'll see the gifts we purchased for everyone over on the shelf. I'm keeping them up high from the baby (to prevent early opening urges), but they're in paper to match the tree. Maybe one night when he goes to bed, I'll put them under the tree to get a somewhat finished picture... hmmm

So what does a 15 month old do while you're spending the afternoon decorating the tree and listening to Christmas carols? He plays with the empty bulb containers of course!!

Oh yes, and not to forget about the curtains. I've been following a blog called The Lettered Cottage by Layla Palmer and another called The Nester. I absolutely love those to blogs. They've got to be my favorites. Anyway, The Nester does "mistreatements" with fabric to make no sew curtains. Also, Layla did a blog entry about using painter's canvas drop cloths for curtains. So I combined the two and came up with this (keep in mind I haven't ironed yet - just wanted to see what they would look like):

Monday, December 14, 2009

Am I Actually Blogging?

Would someone please pinch me? Is this for real? Am I really blogging??? I can't believe it!!! It's 9:44 pm and the two men in the household are asleep. Both were a bit on the grumpy side tonight. One didn't feel well and had a long day, the other is cutting teeth.... I'm sure you can figure out who is who. So, since they're both sleeping and dinner is over with the kitchen cleaned, I guess I have a few moments to myself. Why not catch up on some of my favorite blogs?? (The Lettered Cottage, The Nester, Our Suburban Cottage, Thrifty Decor Chic... and on and on and on)

We've started decorating for Christmas, but no, we do not have a tree. Our weekends are so extremely busy and if the day is nice, we have plans. If we don't have plans and intend to go pick out a tree, it rains. Raining cold weather is no fun to take the baby into. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one day before December 24th, we'll have a tree. The good thing is that it's getting close to Christmas and many places have them marked down already! WOO HOO!!!

This year Joe and I are hosting the Carr family Christmas Eve. I'm rather very excited about having an opportunity to plan decor and food again. I don't know why, but I absolutely love planning get togethers. I love planning food and decor. I made a deal with Joe's mom and sister that I would take care of Christmas Eve, if they would take care of Christmas day. That way I don't have to worry about rushing through Christmas morning and cooking, too.

So, this year, I've changed the whole Christmas theme from the years past of the primitive folk art to the more elegant "bling" Christmas. At this point, if it sparkles, I want it. I'm so into this whole shiny, blingy, sparkling stuff. I absolutely love crystal. In fact if Santa is reading this, there's the most beautiful hurricane vase over at Carolina Pottery that I've had my eye on & I've been a good girl!
Really, though I absolutely love that hurricane. The way it captures the light and shines is just breath taking to me. Okay, so it is only $40, but when I've been finding crystal at the Goodwill and Karm Thrift stores, I find it difficult, almost sinful, to pay $40 for a vase.... Hmmmm .... let's see how long this will power lasts.... I wish I could find a picture of it for Santa....
Speaking of Goodwill, Karm, Carolina Pottery, and a few others (Dollar General, Big Lots, and JoAnn Fabric)... well, that's where I've bought this year's decor. I bought all plastic ornaments, in honor of my 15 month old son... There's nothing that scares me more about having a Christmas tree than broken ornaments around him. With the fact that we have hardwood floors, I'm sure that if an ornament fell, it would shatter to pieces. So, I bought shatter proof!

The theme this year is aqua blue, silver, white, and crystal. I took the left over crystals from my wedding and strung them onto jewelry wire. I did this about a year or so ago and just never knew what I was going to do with it. Well now it is adorning my mantle and adding some "bling".

I only bought sale items at JoAnn Fabrics at 50-60% off. The good news is that I also had an additional 20% coupon on my total purchase of regular price AND sale price items. So needless to say, I made out at JoAnn's! I bought some new pine garland. It's so pretty! I absolutely love it. It's faux pine with pine cones and some plastic pieces to represent snow. Okay, so that sounds really ugly, but really it's gorgeous! I also bought a white glitter star for the tree topper, silver and white brocade fabric for the tree skirt mistreatment, and silver plastic garland. Oh yeah, and three velvet white stockings, two silver bell doorhangers, and a partridge in a pear tree... LOL just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

From Carolina Pottery I bought two white amaryllis potted flowers in shiny silver pots. The flowers and leaves have glitter on them. I also bought some crystal votive candleholders.

From Big Lots I bought all of the aqua colored ornaments, the white multipointed stars in glitter, the silver glitter ornaments, the lights, and two mercury glass hurricanes and I think that's it.

At the Dollar General I bought some candles, the Peace and Noel signs that sit on the fireplace box, a few spools of ribbon, and the two silver bell doorhangers I'm using in the kitchen on my hanging shelf.

At the thrift stores I bought candle holders, a metal runner sled, a pair of ice skates, and a snowman tile tray.

I did get a free box of Christmas decor from freecycle, but most all of the items were in burgundy, green, and gold, not my colors at all. I tore apart a wreath & hung it on my sled.

Did I spend a fortune??? Heck no! Does it look like I did? I'll let you decide! (Remember there's no tree yet, so these are in progress pictures)

In addition to the mantle, I've also decorated the kitchen shelf above the table. Here's the picture consisting only of items purchased at JoAnn's (garland), Big Lots (all of the ornaments shown), and Dollar Store (bells).

And finally, the sled. There's a story behind the sled. Yes I live in the South and no we don't see snow. So, why would I have a sled and ice skates? Well, because I've always wanted to decorate my porch with them. One year I went on the Twig Tour of Homes in Granville, Ohio. One house that I went to had a sled with ice skates as decoration on their front porch and I absolutely adored it. I've always wanted to do it, too, but could never find either. So this year, I found both in the thrift stores! The skates I bought for $1.00 at Goodwill and the sled was marked $30, but I got it at 15% off. The wreath was free from freecycle. Not too shabby, huh? Oh and by the way, notice the doormat.

Okay, now onto the doormat..... This was a DIY project inspired by a blog I came across called, "Our Suburban Cottage" (thanks to my mom!). She did a DIY personalized doormat tutorial. I've loved the personalized doormats that Pottery Barn sells, but I can't see spending $69.00 for something someone wipes their feet on. I think I would cringe every time I saw someone step on it. I would be the loony woman asking people to step over the doormat!!

So, my good friend Carol and I took a trip to Ikea in Atlanta a little over a week ago. To my suprise, what did I find? A plain coir doormat! Yay for me!! I scooped it up and paid $7.00 for it. Then I printed out a "C" in a font I love. It didn't work. Then I found the next runner up in "C" font... and printed it. I waited until the baby fell asleep and my husband wasn't home and I went to work on a DIY project like a little kid who was trying to sneak candy in his pocket before his mom caught him... I mean, I worked as fast as I could to make sure I could get it done in the hour span I have for napping... LOL

I cut out the "C" font and used it as a stencil. But before I placed it, I used duct tape and masking tape in two different sizes and outlined the areas I wanted to stay original coir color. Then I placed the "C" in the framed in area. If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen a better way of holding the "C" stencil in place because it didn't come out clearly enough in the end. OH well, it was my first attempt. So, then I spray painted with my favorite black flat spray paint and watched the paint dry.... literally.... I couldn't wait until it dried so that I could uncover the final product. Here's the doormat in the various stages. What do you think??? Not too bad for a $7.00 mat with a few items from around the house... MUCH better than $69.00!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flying Free!

Oh my.. I am absolutely loving the Fly Lady in combination with the E-Mealz! When I left the house this morning, it was clean, the supper is in the crock pot and the laundry was running (don't fret, the dryer wasn't running!). So when I get home, I'll have to feed the baby, my hubby and I will eat, and the dishes to be put in the dishwasher and I'm done! WOO HOO!!! There's something to be said that when you leave the house for work knowing that when you come home, you're coming home to supper and a clean house, that just makes me feel good! I really have noticed a difference since I've been using the Fly Lady techniques. My house is so much more "homey" now that I've been flying with the Fly Lady... No more CHAOS.... (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). YEE HAW!!! For more info - check out
Flylady and E-Mealz

Saturday, September 19, 2009

House Quiz....

Okay - so what do you do when you have a sleeping one year old, a husband at work, a house to be cleaned, $20.00 worth of purchases at Goodwill and two cans of spray paint??

The answer??? Spray paint your Goodwill purchases of course!!! ha ha ha

Here's some idea as to what my day has entailed so far....

Before - this is some sort of hand-carved tray I found for $3 at Goodwill.

After: What a difference!

Before - these are wholesale type primitive style trowels. I thought they would go perfect on my kitchen wall cabinet.

After - Right again!

So here are the pictures of my kitchen. It's always a work-in-progress project. At some point we'd like to get new flooring, new countertops, a sliding glass door, new windows, curtains, new appliances (which we desparately need) and rid of the large over the refrigerator cabinet. But for now, it works well for us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Bathroom Make-Over

When I moved into the house, my husband had the one and only bathroom decked out to the hilt with Tommy Hilfiger. He had the shower curtain, the towels, everything. Even the wallpaper was navy blue....Ughhh... Anyway, after we took that down, we went strait to the country bath house feel. Double ughh. That was just gross! So for the last month or so we've removed all the wallpaper, patched the holes from previous bathroom accessories or pictures hangers, etc. Today I painted the bathroom in a "jade" color to match my shower curtain mistreatment... (If you want to know what a mistreatment is, see The Nester's blog. There's a link to it in this blog.) We checked with a tile guy to do the walls and floor in our tiny little bathroom. He wanted $2100 for labor only and we supply the materials. The labor I thought was extremely high considering the fact that our bathroom is 9x4 with a 3x5 offset, which is mostly fiberglass shower install. So, I went down to Home Depot today and bought a gallon of paint and some painting supplies. I have to say I need to keep my day job and not try to paint for a living. I believe I just might be the world's worst painter! Regardless, the painting is done and the bathroom looks... um... bright... Actually I really like how it turned out. It isn't quite what I had in mind, but it works well. I matched the paint color to the fabric I used for the mistreatments and it looks great put together. So what's left on the TO DO list for the bathroom? I'm going to paint the vanity, mirror frame, and bath accessories in flat black. We need to order the 18" prehung door unit and get it in for the closet so we have more space. Then, the bathroom should be done for a long while...

This weekend Joe showed his hidden carpentry skills, too. Wow! What a great job he did! Remember when our ceiling in the living room fell? Well, there was a gap in the edge of the new drywall and the wall knotty pine. Also, where the ceiling heat was, it was much thicker than the 5/8" drywall we put up. So, Joe went to Home Depot on Saturday, bought the crown molding, measured, cut, stained, and hung it all. It looks so good! I'm so excited about it! Now, if I can only talk him in to letting me paint the knotty pine paneling & update the living room a little. That would be all she wrote.... LOL

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Guest Bedroom... De-Cluttered!!

I've been using the guest bedroom as a storage room and only cleaning it up when my family came to stay. Other than that, the door would stay shut to the room to ward off any junk that wanted to escape! Well, I spent plenty of time decluttering and trying to make it a little more cozy. Although it's still not done to the point where it is absolutely completely finished, it's much better than having the pile of junk in the corner!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

DIY Laundry Soap Recipe

They removed the video from Metacafe of the recipe I used to make the laundry soap. Fortunately, though, I wrote it down & will include it below:

You Will Need:

a) 1 bar of soap, grated up into a pot that holds 6 C of water ( I used Ivory once and Fels-Naptha once

b) 3/4 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (It is specific for laundry not regular baking soda - the Super Washing Soda is difficult to find. You may have to order it on-line if your local grocery doesn't carry it)

c) 3/4 C Borax ( I use 20 Mule Team in the laundry aisle)

d) 6 C + 1 QT super hot water

e) 1 1/2 gallons of regular temp water out of tap

In the pot, grate the entire bar of soap. Add to it 6 C of super hot water. Stir it and heat it on the stove until all of the soap is completely melted & you cannot see a single shred of soap. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir it until it is not gritty. This will take just a little bit of time. While the mixture is dissolving in the water, add 1 qt of super hot water to the bottom of your laundry soap container. I use a 5 gallon storage container with a lid from Wal-Mart. It's a Sterilite or Rubbermaid type of container. Once the mixture of soap, water, washing soda, and borax is completely dissolved, slowly stir into the container of 1 qt hot water. Stir well, then add 1 1/2 gallons of water. The laundry soap is ready to use at this point, but is best left to sit 24 hours to gel up. The water will separate from the gel consistency, which is okay. Use 1/2 c per load of laundry. Homemade laundry gel does not suds up like store bought laundry detergent. It does work, though. I love it and have been using it for a few months now.

Other items I use include white distilled vinegar in a liquid fabric softner dispenser ball for fabric softner (I use this instead of Donwny type of softner)

Wash cloth soaked in liquid laundry softner to put in the dryer instead of fabric sheets (Bounce type sheets)

If anyone else has any other cost saving, frugal laundry tips, please send them my way!

i-Robot Roomba

Okay, so who has one of these robotic vacuums? My mother (LOVE HER) bought one for us for Christmas this past year and I have fallen in love with this for two reasons:
(a) I don't have to vacuum
(b) it helps to keep my house clutter free - at least on the floor (does anyone know where I can get a robotic duster???)

Anyway, so if you don't have one, you NEED one... For those of you who do have one, I put together my own little cleaning kit that I thought I would share. I found that getting the tangled hair (which I have long curly hair) out of the brushes was really hard. Every day it was, "Please inspect & clean Roomba brushes". It was because I couldn't really get to all the tightly wound hairs on the brushes. I shed like crazy - Gross, I know....

I'll upload a picture of my cleaning kit later. But, here's what it consists of:

1) 3rd food Gerber Baby Food Jar = I've got plenty of those around the house they're great storage & organizing containers

2) One hard rubber rat-tail comb to brush the bristles clean

3) One pair of beard and mustach trimmer scissors - the pointy, thin sharp end can help get under the rims of the turning brushes easily

4) A corn cob holder - yes that sounds crazy, but they have very sharp pointy ends, too, that you can use to pull the tangled hairs loose to cut them with the scissors

5) A double ended mini screw driver - to take apart the bottom to clean it out

6) The yellow brush hair remover that came with the Roomba

Anyway, my i-Robot; or "Butler" as we like to call him (& stole the idea from my mom) stays hairless and tangle-free with this handy dandy cleaning kit.

Our house is mainly hardwood floors, vinyl, and ceramic tile. We have one room with carpet. The Roomba does a great job in all of the rooms, no matter what floor covering type... At least in our house. The only down-side to the Roomba is that it doesn't get into the corners. So you have to broom the corners out into the open and let i-Robot clean it that way. But that's okay because that gives me a reason to want to build a round house... Can you imagine??? Oh YIKES!! That sounds like a decorating nightmare!

Anyway, if you don't have one, get an i-Robot Roomba. If you have one and don't use it, ARE YOU CRAZY??? ha ha ha