Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rearranging Your Space

When I was growing up, I remember constantly rearranging our living room, my bedroom...I mean like one time a week...I have consistently done it to every rental, and then every house we owned after that. House 2 and 3 in Michigan had really weird layouts. So it was necessary if I added or took away furniture to move things around. They were vintage houses with doors in weird places and strange nooks...rearranging makes a space feel fresh and clean to me.

This house was built with functionality in mind. So my furniture, in pretty much all of the rooms, has only been in one spot. For 4 years. That's weird. Since I've been sort of wanting to do something, but not something messy, or time consuming...I thought this might be a good project for the day. 

This is what the family room looked like this morning (minus lego's, magnatiles, zoobs, books, balls...you get the picture).

There isn't really too much I can do, so I just flipped everything. What do you think?

 It feels much cleaner...although that could be because of the boat load of toys, shoes, magazines, dust bunnies, goldfish crackers and marbles I found under the couch. Seriously. I blame it on the boys that live here. 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I've sort of run out of steam the last few days. With volunteering at school, summer around the corner (am I the only one who isn't ready???) and regular non-decorating upkeep (this part isn't fun), I've been tired and haven't really wanted to get into any big projects. Well, I WANT to get into some projects. I just don't have the energy right now. 3 kids, 3 chickens, 1 dog...you get it. 

I have been making some little changes around the house, because I'm pretty sure I would lose my mind if I didn't do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. I relax with a paintbrush in my hand. 

I painted and stenciled the wall in the "powder room" this winter. But I just wasn't really liking it. So I went ahead and painted the shelves white. SO much better. Better. But not quite there yet. Do you ever have a room that you've redone, and you are happy-ish with it. But your not quite thrilled. That's where I am here. I'm thinking since I had such awesome luck with the bead board wallpaper (because you can't have enough bead board...right?) I might do it in here to brighten it up more. There is no natural light. And I'm not sure I love the stencil either. But...it's a bathroom. I don't spend a ton of time in here, so it's not really high on the list. It looks way gloomier in the photo that real life.

I played around with the gallery wall and added a clock. I also repainted all the baseboards in the hallway...they can nasty really fast in a house full of boys.
 I repainted the arches around the dining room. (Remember those giant swatches on the wall here?) It feels way calmer now that the wall connecting the arch to the kitchen doesn't have a wonky perfectly straight line where the Oyster Bay ended and the Grant Beige began. Unfortunately, it has made me start thinking about a new re-do for the already re-done dining room. Have I mentioned how much I LURVE Grant Beige? It's so calm. And clean. And not Beige at all.

And because one can never be too obsessed with bead board. I used up my roll in the kitchen. My goal is to paint those cabinets Alabaster by SW - someday. Not far away I hope. The bead board will look great with the white cabinets. I still need to trim that out. Plus, it will take us out of the cookie cutter zone for our neighborhood...that's a good thing (as Martha would say).

And finally, I've been working a ton on teaching this little girl to walk. She's getting so brave and starting to take steps by herself. She's still pretty wobbly, but she cruises like a pro. Today we celebrated by putting in her very first pigtails. And immediately taking them out because she WAS NOT happy about it. Oh well. I've got time. It is a mullet after all.

Hope some of you are still here :)


Monday, May 7, 2012

Tips for Living #2: Getting Rid of Hard Water Spots ORGANICALLY

Since today is my window cleaning day, I thought I would share a REALLY AWESOME secret to removing hard water spots on windows. For less than $2. AND using products you have in your home.

We have really hard water where I live. It tastes terrible, and it makes me insane when I have to clean my tubs and glass shower doors. But, what really makes me crazy - like, pull your hair out, say a few naughty words, sprinting to the sprinkler box to shut. it. down., kind of crazy is our irrigation water, hitting our windows every time the wind blows (which is every day).
Irrigation water is full of who knows what (other than calcium and lime scale) and as soon as it hits your glass, you have to move if you ever expect to have nice sparkly windows again. This stuff leaves  white, thick crusty scales on your windows. I'm not kidding. If you have irrigation water hitting your car and windows, you know what I mean. It eventually "etches" the glass...whatever that means. All I know, is that the damage can become permanent after sitting in 100 degree sun, baking on all summer. The only good part is that no one can see you inside anymore (privacy screen?).
As soon as we bought this house, we turned on the irrigation, the wind blew, and our lower level windows were ruined forever. I have tried CLR, Spot-X, Lime scale removers, and who knows what other chemicals and none have worked. I have scrubbed until my muscles were sore with a magic eraser. I have purchased specialty chemicals from the chemical supply store. Nothing worked.

Ready to have nice clean windows? Me too...let's go. 

Gather your supplies:

One lemon, cut in half (or more, depending on how many windows you have to clean this gunk off of).
One bottle of window cleaner (homemade or store bought - doesn't matter).
Paper towels or a lint free cloth.

Next, find your offender. In this case, the hard water deposits had accumulated on my sliding glass door on the deck. I have tried everything. Hard to take a picture of a window. This is a "clean" window.

Rub the cut side of your lemon all over the hard water spots. You want the cut side to stay moist, but it doesn't need to drip the juice. Scrub the spots with the lemon, focusing on the biggest areas of build up. I try to do the windows while they are in the shade so the lemon juice has time to eat away the deposits.

After you have scrubbed it with the lemon, wipe it down as you would  normally with your window cleaner.

It's a MIRACLE! They are G.O.N.E. Let's go find a nastier window.

This one has been pretty bad for a long time. You can feel the scales. Ready? 

With the lemon rubbed all over, doing it's organic magic...

And after. VOILA! (looking out this time).

I've saved the worst for last. These windows are sprayed and then beaten by the sun for 4 years people. FOUR YEARS. I have done it all and have been so disappointed with all of the expensive cleaners I've bought that are so harsh for my home.

These are our office windows. When the sun shines through, you can't see out the window at all because of the scales. It's embarrassing and frustrating.

I had to do two lemon/cleaner treatments on these before they were spot free. But who cares. So worth the extra 2 minutes of effort!


Unbelievable, right? 

It's so nice to have clean windows again!

Best $1.50 I ever spent.  Now go grab a lemon, clean a window or two, and throw the other half in a nice cold drink. You deserve it!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bead Board Wallpaper...the best thing ever created.

I've decided that bead board wallpaper is the best thing EVER. I can do it myself. No needing help cutting giant sheets of bead board from Mister. No tools (other than scissors and a box cutter)...just some glue, and an hour. That is my kind of project. 

When we bought this house, the space (a giant corner) above the fireplace was just regular wall - and the builder intended for the tv to be up there, because it's the ONLY place they put the cable outlet. It became a giant dust/cobweb/ick magnet and just seemed weird to be to have to lean your head back to see the tv. So that got moved awhile ago. Since then, I've been sort of struggling with how to decorate the mantle because the space is huge and the ceilings are very high.

I haven't solved the decorating dilemma yet, but do you want to see how it turned out? 

Gosh...I really need to break out the real camera. Dang...


Unfortunately, Martha Stewart hasn't made me her product guinea pig and allowed me to test her wallpaper for free...so the projects will stop here for awhile. Oh...and I still have those Grant Beige splotches all over the dining room columns and family is coming this weekend for Mr. 8's confirmation/first communion...
Have I inspired  you to do it yet? I was able to get one wall done in the nursery, above the fireplace...and I think my remnants will be able to do the backsplash. I bought 2 double rolls ($25-ish each). Not bad, right? The big panels of bead board run $20 each, and the nursery would have taken 2 alone. With nothing left over. WINNING! 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pottery Barn Lamp Knock Off

Remember yesterday I told you I'd be back with pictures of the lamps I got from Craigsy yesterday. I know you've been waiting on pins and needles - probably didn't get any sleep - just waiting to see if I made it home alive how they looked. All is well - they are beautiful. (Disclosure - I seem to have a lamp thing going on...in an attempt to not have any dark corners, I may have acquired too many lamps in the last year or so. Shhhh). 

Here is the table lamp...

And the floor lamp...

I have no clue where they are from - I couldn't find any markings to indicate brand. But it just goes to show, if you really want something, stalk Craig for awhile. Don't be in a hurry. You will eventually find what you're looking for. 

Now on to important things.

I have an entire roll of the Martha Stewart Bead Board wallpaper left over from little Ms. Girl's room. It is screaming at me to put it ALL OVER the house. Bead board, in any form, is a great way to make a new house with ZERO personality, have all sorts. 

I have this place I framed out and painted white to draw more attention to the fireplace. But what if I put the wallpaper inside the recessed areas? Horizontal? Vertical? I'm also thinking it would be a great backsplash until subway tile comes into budget. Or to put on the recessed walls in the dining room to fluff it up a bit. 

What do you think? Horizontal or Vertical? Let me know...I'm so breaking out the paste in about 4 seconds.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wing Progress

Yesterday I was able to make some serious progress on 1 of the wing chairs. I guess all it took was getting to it again. I was worried about how the wings were coming out, and then I decided that I'm not a professional upholsterer. And I don't care if they aren't perfect. I really don't. Nothing else is, why should I start here.

I haven't sewn the seat cushion yet, but this is what it was looking like after a fresh coat of paint on the legs and (most) of the fabric work done. But it didn't seem finished.

Who knew that the trickiest part wasn't re-upholstering it at all. It was putting in those darn nail head tack things...I couldn't find the strips. I had to use the individuals - enter imperfection at it's finest. But I'm LOVING it. 

Never mind the crooked ones I have to fix...I ran out of my 3 boxes (because I may or may not have smashed them into a holy mess). I think I'll move on to the next chair while I wait to get back to Hobby Lobby. 

How cool is that pillow on the chair? It's actually a burlap bag purchased for about $9 from Online Fabric Store. It took quite awhile to get it...(I figured they had to hand loom the burlap because it took about a month!). But I love it and wish I would have gotten one more for the other chair. They have other reproduction grain sacks too. How about this one? I just stuffed a regular pillow in it and folded over the back.

Now I'm really motivated to get that other chair done. But I'm remembering the MEEEELIONS of staples I had to pull out of the one above. Yuck.

I'm picking up some lamps from Craigslist today that I'm excited to show you tomorrow. I've been looking EVERYWHERE for a cheap version of this - 

Pottery Barn Cole Task Lamp $149!!

I found a table lamp AND floor lamp ... ready for it? For $50 total! In that dark bronze color. Whoo Hoo!

See you tomorrow!