Saturday, August 8, 2009

Paint Fumes and Design

Last evening my son had a function at church. I took him over and decided to work on the children's ministry stuff that I had to get organized for the start of the new year. I was walking into another Sunday School classroom and noticed the room had recently been redecorated. It was heading toward a tree house type theme. But the thing that was even more noticeable to me, not by sight but by smell, was the new paint. They had recently painted the room in new colors and it smelled divine. I LOVE the smell of new paint, it makes me think of freshness and new projects being accomplished. I could have stayed there much longer just sniffing to my hearts content. But I had work to do in another Sunday School class... one that unfortunately did not smell like paint.

Today, I'm supposed to be working on preparing for our first full week of homeschooling. But in the schoolroom are a bunch of magazines. Country Home, Cottage Living, Kitchens and Bath Remodeling just to name a few. With three kids keeping me busy, I rarely ever have the time to look at these. But today the littlest is taking a nap and the two oldest are with dh at football evaluations. The house is quiet... perfect for planning the school year.... or looking at decorating magazines. Hmmm.. tough call.

I'm being inspired by do-it-yourselfers who have remodeled their kitchen and done so on a budget. We did that before, so I know it can be done. But, I also know it's several months of major upheaval and work. A lot of upheaval and work! Plus, previously we just redid the cabinets (a huge job in itself). We also replaced the counters, and lighting and built a new island.

We've lived in our new house for 3 years now, and I have never felt like the kitchen worked well for me. Many friends have commented to me that it is quite big... which it is, but the flow is all wrong for me. For this new kitchen I would want to re-do all cabinets, counters and lighting, plus the ceiling (making it beadboard), and the floors. (perhaps hardwood). New appliances are a given..... but also very expensive. So, I keep walking into my kitchen and re-designing it, looking at it one way and figuring out how to make it all work and flow.

I can tell I'm getting the itch to remodel again....

It must've been the paint I smelled at church last night..... :-)

Saturday, May 30, 2009


As promised here are some photos of the half finished curb appeal. Below is our home, I love the black shutters and black door now. You can see the roof and all the tiles we lost... I can't wait until our new roof goes up!

Here are some photos of my new hanging baskets. I got the baskets for $6 each and the plants to go in them for $2.oo. They were distressed plants at Lowe's and I nursed them back to health. Yay me!

Finally, I had to take a picture of the bench and pillows from the other side of the porch. This is where I'd like to put a porch swing eventually. But for now... the bench works just fine!

Another Update...

Okay, hopefully photos coming soon... The front porch is coming along. I need to find a little round wrought iron table for between the rocking chairs. Something that will hold drinks. I also want to find a porch swing that we can refinish. That would be awesome, and I can move the bench out under a shady tree.

We are getting our new roof in about 3 weeks, and after that we will be sanding and painting the entire front porch. That should finish our mini-curb appeal project. I have lots of photos to take of the plants etc. It really is looking nice and the roof will make all the difference!

We are also in the process of re-doing our entire swingset. Dh disassembled it, moved it over about 5 feet, and we'll be adding on. It's gonna be awesome when we are finished. Seems a project like this is a magnet for all the neighborhood kids. We have several of the boy's friends helping us to sand the old pieces we are salvaging. I'm sure they will want to stain it as well. :-)

I'm so excited for the additional space, plus making our swingset sturdy. It was quite dangerous before up on cinderblocks and swaying horribly when anyone would venture to actually swing on it! Yikes! This one will have five options for swings... two kids, two toddler swings and one two seater. Plus it will have the current big slide, and a rock wall with a rope to climb. The fort part will have a telescope and steering wheel for lots of imiganiation play. Yay! It will probably be done just in time for the heat of summer.... lol!

Picture posts will follow shortly....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mini-Update on Curb Appeal

Sorry I haven't posted in a little bit. We still have some finishing things to do to the front porch and yard. One thing we have to do is sand, wash and repaint the porch... especially the stairs. That is gonna take some time and decent weather to accomplish! It's been raining like crazy here... so we just have to find a good weekend to do it!

We also had 80-100 tiles blow off our roof during the last huge wind storm. So we will be getting a new roof hopefully soon. We have been blessed that insurance will paying for that.

Finally, we have to mulch all the landscaping... and for that we also need decent weather. So.... no pictures until we can find the time to get finished here. I'll leave you with a picture of our youngest little guy hanging out a few weeks ago while we were doing the shutters and door.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rocking Chair Renovation!

Last year I found these rocking chairs locally for $25 a piece. Dh drove after work and strapped them to the back of his little Audi. They are super sturdy, almost Cracker Barrel quality, but needed a LOT of TLC. The finish on them was the worst, peeling varnish and rough like they had been left in the elements for a long time. Here is what they looked like when they brought them home.

I spent many many hours sanding these... Did I mention MANY HOURS?? lol! But it was so worth it because the finish is so smooth now. Then I began the process of priming. We chose gray to start us off, since I knew our final paint color would be black. It helped to lesson the amount of coats of black paint I would need in the end.

Here they are primed with the gray color:

Finally I put two coats of gloss black paint on them. I decided to leave the rush seats the natural color and I'm SO glad that I did! They look awesome. I added some rocker cushions and pillows that I purchased at Target. They now grace our front porch and look amazing! Dh saw the last photo and was so pleased... he said it looked like they were out of a magazine. Aww... Thanks honey! Total cost was around $55 for the cushions and paint! Yay!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Working on some Curb Appeal

For the past couple weekends we have been working on making the front of our home look different on a very small budget. I don't have after photos yet, because we are still not finished.... but I will post maybe in a few more weeks. Here are some before photos of the home and what we have been working on. I can't wait to finish this up, but it's gonna take a LOT of elbow grease!

Here is our home before with green shutters and a very badly peeling front door. To say that door was an eyesore when you first walked up the porch is an understatement.

You can see the peeling paint below and notice the two different finishes. Polished nickel on the door handle and polished brass on the kick plate and door knocker. I'm embarrassed to say that has been that way for almost 3 years.

Also from the heat here this inner glue like substance would leak from our windows and look like some type of sap. It was sticky and very gross looking and it coated the door under those inserts.

So on a beautiful spring day dh took the door down and decided to strip it and repaint it. The new color will be black.

Since we were changing the door color we also needed to repaint our shutters. So those came down as well for a quick coat of black paint. Here are a few shots of the porch without the lower shutters.

And here is what we found behind all those shutters.... yuck!

Here are some of the lower shutters lined up and ready to be painted. I'm definitely ready to get rid of that green color.

The cost for the paint and paint stripper was $30. So for that small amount of money we totally transformed the look of our home. But we aren't done yet. Planters, an old bench and awesome old rockers that we bought last year for $25 each need to be redone as well. Plus cushions to add some color and flowers for the planters. We're going to try to do it all for under $200. The cushions are the most costly.... we'll see how we do. I'm re-doing the rocking chairs right now, and dh just re-painted the bench. I wish we had taken a before shot of it! It looks a million times better. Tune in for a picture update on each of those projects!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I just want to know why do I come up with all kinds of absolutely fabulous and "do-able" remodeling ideas for my home, when we can't do a single one because of our budget? I find that very curious. Usually I am stuck with some kind of design brain freeze, but today.... in my mind I completely redid two upstairs bedrooms relocating walls, doors, and closets, and remodeled my entire kitchen. Now what is up with that???

Too bad we are on Baby Step 2 of the Dave Ramsey Plan and paying off all our debt(except the house). We'll be starting Baby Step 3 hopefully this summer. That step involves having an Emergency fund of 3-6 months salary saved should we lose a job or something. I know I will be thankful when all this is done, and we actually have a cushion to fall back on and our debt is gone. It's just hard now. I guess I'll just draw up the ideas and keep working on them. They'll be ready for us when we have the cash in hand. :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Budget Cuts

I posted below that I know I can do our remodelilng on a budget. However, my budget just got smaller. Way smaller......

My husband and I started reading through Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I have read many of his concepts before, but we have never read the book together. We have never been on the same page together. So, this is a good thing.... and a bad thing. Good because I want us to be on the same page with our finances and to both be on board. The bad thing is that we are going to have to take a good look at our budget and make some cuts. The one thing we agree on is that no remodeling happens unless we have the money up front. Period. So, the bathroom that I want to re-do (even frugally) will have to wait until we have about $700 to replace all the fixtures and shower. (This should be interesting!)

So, for now I am focused on cleaning out and organizing to make our house seem more put together. We already did the garage, and while it isn't organized the way I would like with all the clutter behind closed doors, it is better. At least we aren't tripping over an obstacle course to get around everything! Plus we can park dh's car in there and work on it until we are ready to sell it......Here are before and after shots.



I know it's hard to tell between the before and after pictures, but trust me.... it does look a whole lot better! And we got rid of a ton of stuff! One big contractor bag full! There is more to "go", and I eventually would like to see a work bench of some type for dh.... but for now this will be okay. The next thing is the attic. It is a war zone up there... and I want it to look spacious! I DO wish we had more storage in this house. The attic is not one of my favorite places to store things. I know it's not economical and it's why we don't do it....but a storage building that is climate controlled would be awesome! Especially for the things we save should we ever have room in another home. Plus it would be great to get rid of all the clutter!

So today is cleaning out the attic day. I hope we get a ton accomplished and that everything feels more organized, like we did after the garage transformation.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Now is the Winter of our Discontent

This phrase from Shakespeare describes me to a tee lately! I don't know what it is.... but as far as my house goes... I'm in a small spell of discontent. I hate to admit that... because I know that I should be just grateful to have a house! Very true!

I'm not sure if it's having just used every last cent on our adoption, and finally having that complete that makes me want to think about home projects. Maybe it's that it is still considered winter here... and while we have been working on the yard, we can't really "Do" a whole lot yet either. It's not quite spring. I guess I should be grateful that I'm not back north where the planting always seemed to coincide with Mother's Day weekend. I'd have to wait awhile for that. At least March is right around the corner, and we can begin attacking some spring projects soon. One more month or so.......

I guess it's that feeling of inactivity... or knowing how many BIG projects this house needs, and knowing we don't have the money to do them. For instance, the siding needs to be replaced, and really so does the roof. The front porch needs to be sanded and repainted and the wood steps need to be tended to. What I'd really like to do is make them brick and the porch concrete, but that too is out of the budget. The garage doors need to be replaced and so does the front door! I would love to fence the yard, but as you know that is way too much money. I also would love to add onto this house, but again.... not now. Sigh... and that is just the outside of the house, I won't even go into the inside. See what I mean? Winter of Discontent. (Notice the word "winter")

My IRL friend posted here about Spring Fever on her blog, and how she is having trouble getting organized. She like me is great at having many ideas but not so good on imlementing them. Too many distractions......Maybe that is part of the problem for me too. With bringing the new little one into our home, I can't seem to get organized at all! Some of the systems that worked for us then, don't work now that we have a little one in the house. So, I have to create new ones.... but like I said I can't seem to catch up. And I consider myself a fairly organized person..... hmmmm.... I'm not sure what is up? If you've made it this far in my jumbled post... thank you.... but you really have too much time on your hands.... LOL! :-)

Pop on over to this post over at the Nester's place.... it really REALLY hit home to me. It's written way better than what I have posted here... but it addresses the discontent that I was rambling on about. Despite our lack of finances, I can still make our home beautiful. I can still remodel frugally. I KNOW I CAN! I can make the home that I have now, be the best that it can be for our family and the memories we will make here. So, I decided to see what things we can do outside that will beautify the house. Things we can do ourselves, that will really make a huge difference. I'll post those things in my next post, because the baby just woke up, and I need to get running!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Weekend Warrior

Today we begin another work weekend around our house. It's raining, so we'll primarily focus on the garage. I haven't been able to park in it for quite some time. Quite frankly you need to clear a path just to walk through it! So, the garage will be the focus today.

And about my fence.... I'm completely bummed out. Dh talked to a subcontractor at work, and guess what the estimate is for the fence? $19,000!!! Yeah, that's pretty much out of the picture. Dh called me and said, "Guess who won't be putting a fence in this year???" "Us....." :-( Oh well!

Gotta get moving on my day... I have bills to pay and checkbooks to balance and taxes to file as well!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spring Fever...

Yes, I have spring fever and it's a little early it seems! I seem to go in stages of home remodeling... mainly because of finances, although sometimes it's because I'm just uninspired.

The last 7 months have been b-u-s-y.... but not on our home renovations. Nope we've added a little one to our family, and we are finally beginning to settle in. Add to that it's starting to feel like spring here in the south, and that typically gets me antsy to start some kind of project or other.

My mind goes in a bunch of directions when I think what we would like to work on. We've been prepping for the spring by cutting back our beautiful shrub roses, and all the rest of the landscaping. This weekend we'll be working on pruning the crape myrtles We opt for natural pruning not "crape murder" like so many like to do. Plus, I'll be taking clippers to the lyriope and cutting it way back for the spring. This year I'd like to have all the landscaped edged weeks before the mulch goes down. I like prepping it now little by little so we can enjoy the spring weather when it hits.

Jumping towards the top of my list this year is a fence. I so badly want to fence our yard! We have a large side yard that I'm always talking about how bad the grass is... or rather the dirt patches. Well not only is that a part of it's problem.... but it is also a magnet for dogs all over the neighborhood. I am so sick of people letting their dogs out and having them use our yard as some sort of a field or something. It's gross and we have kids playing out there all the time. Back north we used to have a dog, and we would have to do the dog poop pick up in our yard. Now we don't have a dog and I am ticked that I have to go and clean that up! Last week a dog marked it's spot on the slide to our swingset. Uh-huh.... seriously. (I'm sure he's not the only one who's done that...) Like I want my new little son sliding down that now. So you can see why a fence has jumped up the priority list.

I've been wanting to get a fence for awhile now and in my head I have a simple landscape design for around it... creating privacy for the side yard that it's never had before. My dh is going to talk to a fencing company that he knows through work so that they can give us an idea of the cost. etc. I'm not sure when we'll be able to afford it... but I'm hoping in a few months.

Also about that swingset, that is actually a priority higher than the fence! We actually will be rebuilding and fixing it ourselves. The fort part is good, but the rest of it is off of cinder blocks, so dh is going to actually get the swing set in the ground to stablilize it. A new swing beam with pressure treated wood, and a new A frame for the sides. We are planning on sanding and restaining the entire older part and staining the new build-on to match. Plus we'll be leveling the ground around the swingset and adding mulch or some sort of ground cover for the kids. Anyone recommend a good ground cover for a swingset? I'm not crazy about sand at all.... The swingset will be a project for the next couple of weeks.... right after the landscaping! That is a must for spring.... I see hours of pushing our little one on the swingset in my future!

Finally as my thoughts gravitate to the outside, they naturally go to the garden that I've always wanted to try to plant. I would SO love to try it this year! (Maybe after the fence goes in.) Can anyone recommend any good beginning gardening books? I have NO CLUE how to do this.. or even what I'd be doing. When I say beginner I really mean beginner!

Those are my thoughts as spring hits... I have a ton of ideas ruminating in my mind about the inside of our house... but realistically we'll be focusing on the outside for now. :-)

Friday, July 11, 2008


I do some of my best dreaming while riding the lawn mower.... Nope, I'm not sleeping, just day dreaming. I don't know what it is about the lawn mower. Maybe it's the fact that I can see the entire house, yard and landscaping. Whatever causes it, I enjoy it immensely!

Today as I was mowing the lawn, I looked at the swing set we will replace, and the neighbor's trees hanging low onto our yard. (We should have had our friends cut those before the new neighbors moved in). I notice the beautiful green of the Leyland cypress trees and how pretty the crape myrtle is set against that back drop. I dream of planting Leyland cypress all along the property line of the new neighbors fence, giving us a sound buffer, and a privacy screen. (Not to mention saving the wiffle balls and tennis balls from heading over their fence, never to be seen again).

Today I dreamt of a lush green grass with no weeds, and no bare spots whatsoever. The kind of grass that our neighborhood minor league baseball team would enjoy playing on! I dreamt of a swing set rebuilt with a beautiful stain finish setting slightly closer to the house, so it doesn't interfere with the aforementioned baseball games.

I notice the the back deck/patio and I dream of adding a set of stairs so that access to the swing set is quick and easy. In my daydream there are lots of flowerpots with an array of gorgeous colors accenting and softening the hardscape.

I ponder if we can do all this by ourselves, plan and plant our huge bare landscape.... or do we need to call a landscaper to get a design. Well, then maybe the landscaper could plant the beds too.... And then somehow in my musings dollar signs start interfering. $$$ $$$ I try to get back to my previous thoughts hoping the mowers rhythmic sounds will take me back.... but the dollar signs and landscaping company won't go away. I begin to doubt we could do it without such services. And I remember that we are saving every penny for an international adoption. No, landscaping is not exactly in the budget this year... or next year for that matter.

My mowing is done and as I look around, nothing has changed.... but it sure was a nice daydream! :-)

Simply Beautiful!

This is the view from my patio deck. Gorgeous isn't it! I guess some things nature just handles on it's own, and I don't even need to work at it! I wish all things were that simple.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yard Update

The van is still clean... shocking! The yard still looks the same. But we have a plan! Next week, we will begin operation overseed. Unfortunately our yard is at least 60% bermuda, 20% fescue and about 20% bare dirt spots. With all of that bermuda that continues to spread, it makes no sense whatsoever to try to kill it all off and plant fescue. Since the bermuda has been spreading each year, dh and I decided we are just going to work with what we have. And ya know... that sounds just like us. We are constantly utilizing things we have, or re-finishing things to give them a new life. We both don't want to be slaves to yard work each year either, so hopefully this will also be low maintenance.

While I really don't care a whole lot for bermuda grass... it is hearty for when the kids play, and it does tolerate our southern heat well. When it goes dormant in the winter, we just may overseed with a rye grass, like they do on golf courses, so that we can have somewhat green grass all year. :-)

So, that's the plan for next week sometime. Lots of overseeding and filling in bare spots with bermuda seeds. Hopefully it will take well!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our Yard

After giving my van a very good detailing today and washing the windows both inside and out... we began to focus on the outside of our home. There are so many projects to keep up can seem never-ending.

Though like any other thing in life, I'm learning it's about a little self discipline. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that self discipline is the answer for everything... but it's something that I am learning...personally. And as I am learning it in one area of my life, it spills over into other areas.....

For instance our yard, which I have posted in the past is just daggone awful. The bare spots are worse than last year, and we cancelled our lawn service to save I think the weeds may get worse. We have a neighbor who has a beautiful lawn. It isn't because his land is better than's the same earth, for the most part. The difference is that he tends to his yard. He takes the time to work on those weeds and to fertilize it in the spring and fall. He waters it, and overseeds it. Sure it sounds like a lot of work, but it's sustained over a long period of time. He isn't out there every weekend working on that yard.... he's enjoying it. Because he has put in the time, in small increments, to tend to his lawn.

Our yard isn't going to change overnight. Not hardly. There isn't a quick fix, it's going to take some effort, and consistency on our part. Not all at once, but little by little it will improve, if we make the time to tend to it. Just like those others areas of my life. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Organizing Closets

First, I have to say I am kicking myself that I forgot to take a before picture of our master bedroom closet. Dh and I already moved all the junk out, and rearranged the clothes. Even if I took a picture now, it still wouldn't reflect on how bad the closet actually looked.

Having said, that I will show an after shot. When we bought our house the people utilized closet maid organizers. I am not a real fan of this product in general. I really don't care for the metal and the slotted shelves are just waiting for things to fall through the cracks. But as you know we are a frugal family, and had no intention of completely ripping out the material that already was available...just for brand new. We are all about utilizing what we have, and making it work for us.

So, dh went to Lowe's today and got a few more items and accessories that would help organize the closet to suit our needs. One thing we needed was a shoe organizer. Actually dh purchased two of these. Very helpful, as our shoes are here, there and everywhere.... and we don't even have a lot of shoes!

The tie racks we already had, but we purchased some additional shelving and pegs for hats etc. Here is a finished photo showing how organized it is! I just sooo appreciate when things are put together. We will begin working on clearing out the two guest closets this week. I hope to remember before and after photos of those!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Projects, Projects, Projects

When you own a home, the projects can seem never ending. Seriously. Even when you have it organized, something is always changing...or breaking etc etc.

Today dh and I are working on cleaning up the house. Our garage is on the mend from many yard sales we had this spring. I should hopefully be able to park there soon!

Next we will tackle the guest bedroom and those closets, as well as our own master closet. There are so many things to store, and with the humid weather here, I don't like to store them in the attic. So, this afternoon I will be working on cleaning out the guest closets to make room for clothes for our expanding family.

Lots to get done..and the hours are passing more quickly than I would like! I think I'll post before and after shots of the guest closets and master closet.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Playroom...

Yikes! Never leave the playroom cleaning up to the kids for months at a time! Seriously, sometimes it is easier to just not look. lol! But yesterday I decided to check on how they had cleaned it up. Oh my word! I really couldn't believe it! I pulled out tons of toys from under the couch and chair! The closet was unbelievable. So yesterday for over 3 hours we worked on re-organanizing our playroom. Things went into the correct bins, and puzzles were put back together in their correct boxes. What a nightmare!

I would really love to put a small table and chairs up there to keep puzzles and games off the floor.... but I'll have to wait on that one. I have an idea in mind, I just have to find the replacement for my kitchen table first! :-)

We are away this weekend, but next weekend we are starting on some projects that just need to get accomplished here at the home. I can't wait! Finally some progress!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A matter of perspective.....

The only bad part about starting house projects is seeing all that really needs to be done. Not a problem if you are a Rockefeller, or a Hilton or Tiger Woods, or anyone of the very wealthy. Unfortunately I am not. And so the projects that I see that need to be done, are expensive. There in lies one of the problems, we lack the financial resources to do any one of the projects, and we don't want to go into debt to do them.

We could really use a new front door. Ours is peeling and looking very shoddy. I'm sure dh could sand it and completely re-do it, but that would take an awful lot of work. But, because we are frugal.... and pretty much re-use whatever we can.... that's what we'll do. Then onto the decks that I just mentioned in the last post. We had a deck up north where we used to live. A huge deck! It was built much better than our current one. Plus, we stained it. These decks have been painted. And they are peeling up in areas. It doesn't look pretty that's for sure. So, that too is going to require a lot of work to re-do the decks, and I'm not sure how we will handle that. Probably a lot of sanding. ugh!

I already mentioned our garage door that is falling apart. And our roof needs to be re-done in a few years as well. That grass in our side yard is soooo not looking good! I mow it each week, and we really really need to re-seed it! We need to fix our playset too... (Oh I could show you a picture of this!) Currently we really don't want the kids using it, as it is unstable. So that will require a big fix as well. A new huge swing beam with A-frame supports cemented into the ground to stabilize it. We will be sanding the fort that is attached and re-staining the whole thing as well.

Have I mentioned I would love to put a fence around our yard to keep stray dogs out, and to have a safe place for my new little ones to play? Or that our central air is one the fritz? How about the windows that were the cheapest ones the previous owners could buy, that have no screens at all? We need to add screens to all the windows!! What a project!

All these projects require time and money. We do have some time.... but certainly not the funds. Even a few hundred to fix the swing set area is not "doable"right now. So, I'm just going to have to choose to look at each of these things is a different light.

We have a porch, and though it is peeling paint in areas, it is clean and bright and inviting. It provides shade on a sunny day and is a roof over our heads. And speaking of the roof that will need to be replaced. Well, it is providing shelter without leaks which is more than can be said of millions around the globe. And the yard and swingset, well I have a yard where my kids can play in safety, not on or near a busy street, or quite frankly no place at all. And my central air does work some of the time. To help cool me off when I come in from washing my deck.

It's all how I look at it... and while those other things still jump out at me, and compete for my attention and focus... I'm going to choose to look at the blessings right now.

There, I already feel a lot better. :)

Weekend Projects

It's a little late to say "Spring Cleaning" as it's almost summer here. But there are projects that need to be done, even if we missed spring. And quite frankly, now is the time to do them,as pollen season is almost over. (Tree pollen). Last year I made the mistake of deck washing our front porch and back deck at the end of April. Before any of the tree pollen became really bad. I had clean and bright white decks, only to turn a dingy yellow color a few weeks later.

This year, our two decks look absolutely terrible. The front porch is covered in pollen, and the back deck is just dirty. (And covered in yellow pollen). So, today after looking at both closely,I decided it was time to deck wash them. I started out on the front porch because it's covered, and it's smaller. I'm sweating and exhausted from just that project! The porch looks better though, and I feel like it will look a lot more inviting when guests come to visit.

It complements the pink cottage roses so well now. And speaking of those roses, we really cut them back by about 1/2 this February. You wouldn't know it though.... those bushes have just grown and grown. They are blooming profusely right now,and give my house a very cheery feel from the outside! we'llbe mulching finally today after almost 2 years of not mulching. That should give the front the finished look that we want.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clutter,Clutter, Everywhere

Those who know me know that I really can't stand clutter. It's weird, and hard to describe. I feel less organized for sure, when everything is all over the place, and things are piled up in areas all around my house. I also can describe the feeling as frazzled. It certainly is not a calm or peaceful feeling as I rush from pile to pile, searching for what I need at the moment.

There is a show that I have occasionally caught on cable called Clean Sweep. The premise is a design team and host go into someone's house to help them declutter it (ie:get rid of junk) and organize it to make it a less cluttered, moreorderly, and peaceful living space.

The people they select for the show really must be heavy pack rats. Because just looking at their home I have to people really live like that? Did they go in and make it a whole lot messier for the show? The stuff is abundant and overflowing everywhere.... So the homeowners have to go through all their stuff and have a yard sale to make money for the renovations to make their house more organized and less cluttered.

The before and afters are just amazing. Their homes go from piles and piles of junk, to clean,clear, tranquil retreats. Just looking at the makeover makes me feel better, and I don't even live there! I wonder to myself if the homeowner's will keep it up.... or will they fall back into their old packrat ways.

So,what does this show have to do with me? Well we just finished up our third yard sale to raise money for our adoption. We had a ton of stuff donated to us from our Sunday school class. From this month of having a house full of yard sale items .... well my house is a bit cluttered. There is literally not one room that gives me that peaceful easy feeling. No, not one. So, it's time to work on getting rid of the clutter and getting the house back to normal. I am recommending to myself to start one room at a time. If I have just one room that is my little sanctuary, while I work on the rest of the house, I'll feel better.

So, it's a Clean Sweep at my house! Time to clean up and clear out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Remodeling Itch...

I'm not sure how many people can relate to this, but it has been quite some time since we have remodeled and I am getting the itch to begin again.

Last night I needed to buy some spray paint to paint some picture frames. I stopped at Lowe's to pick up the spray paint. As I was walking into the store, I realized that it was well over 6 months since I had been in there. 6 months!! And I love that store!

We have been diligently saving money for a two-fold purpose. One is to get out of debt, and the other is to save for our adoption. Anyone who is focused solely on that, will concur that there is just nothing that can go towards home remodeling. Especially when that remodeling is not a "necessity".

So, I'm thinking of projects that I can do that are very cost effective. One of those is taking the jerseys that are hanging over my boys dressers, and changing the name on the backs of each one to reflect each boys name. Then I will hang them on dowel rods over each bed.

The second project in my head that would cost next to nothing is finally using the fabric I bought to make door panels for our french doors in the living room. The blanket that has been hanging there for the past two years has got to go! lol!

Both of these require sewing.... a task that I have never been taught and that while dh can do.... he loathes. So, we'll see if we can manage it, and if he can teach me. Patience Patience patience.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Finishing Touches....

It takes me forever to get all the finishing touches done in our house. I am not good at this detail work.... and much prefer the broad sweeping strokes of a remodel. I'm finally getting around to finishing up the boys bedroom... :-)

I got a lamp for free that someone was giving to Goodwill. It is perfect for between my boys beds. I may eventually change the lamp shade.... But for now it is fine. Then I have had these pictures laying against a wall in the bedroom for a year. Dh and I finally decided where to hang them, and they are now on the wall!! Those two things make a huge difference. The room just feels more put together. Now all I have to do is get a shelf for trophies, a peg board for ball caps, a new frame for a great old poster we were given and a hamper for dirty clothes. I feel like the boys room is really just about COMPLETE. It only took a year! lol!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Working on another room

Well, I know we said we were going to take a break from remodeling...BUT... we somehow found ourselves starting again, :-) You see, I got a recumbent exercise bike for Christmas and the kids got a Wii. So, we have a bonus room and another room off of that called the "red room". It was a very deep red...and,... notice I said "was".... We had to rearrange things so that we could create a room for all the exercise equipment. This isn't my ideal use of the two spaces, but we are going to have the kids in the main bonus room with their video games etc and the small room will be where we exercise. It's just gotta be that way so we can keep any future little ones away from the treadmill etc. It used to be that they would use the big room for playing and they would have the "red" room that had a sofa in it for gaming.

So, Dh is painting that room right now with high hide primer. But, I forgot to take a before picture!! So, sorry... we decided pretty quick to paint it before everything got back in there. Besides that my camera is old (my dad's old camera) and it is not picking up colors properly. I am seriously considering purchasing a new digital camera soon...I can't stand that it does that! I'm already color challenged, I don't need my camera to be too! We had a Canon Powershot, and it was great ....but it must've gotten dropped too many times! I'm going to have to do some research...any suggestions?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not much going on....

I've been posting to my other blog a bit more, as we are taking a break from the remodeling through the new year. So, for those of you that wonder where I am, you can check there... :-) I'm sure I'll be back here with some remodeling details in a few weeks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Computer is somewhat connected....

Well, it's here and I'm typing on it, but I guess I'm just going to have to get used to it. It's a lap top which is great, but everything is not hooked up as it should be or back to normal. I'm supposed to have a docking station to hook into so that I can use the keyboard and our regular monitor. For some reason that isn't working. Then I have no idea but my cable internet service is not working either....again no idea why. I have to call t hem. Finally, I really wanted to be able to print from anywhere in my house to my printer, but we need a special USB connector for that as my printer is not wireless compatible or something. Then too my outlook is not up and running, and so my email isn't working like it should. I guess it will all come together eventually....give it a few more days.

On the house front, nothing much new is going on. We are still in the process of decorating for Christmas. I was away visiting my sister for 4 days, so we've been putting things up slowly but surely since our return. The trees are up....we have 3. Two artificial that cost me $10 together, and one real one in the living room. The lights around our house have been up since the weekend after Thanksgiving. They look pretty. I really should take a picture of both of them and our real tree. We have one scrawny artificial type tree in the kids room, and we still need to decorate it with all the ornaments that are sentimental to me. Some the kids made, and some I made, when I was a kid.

No new projects until the New Year. But I will be baking lots and lots of Christmas cookies in the coming days to send off to dh's work and to give to various neighbors and church folks. I'll see how my computer is working in the next few days and try to post pictures soon!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My computer....RIP

Yep, my computer died this past week. I'm currently sans cpu tower, and am borrowing my husband's laptop in the evenings. Not having a computer, I've noticed two things.... One, how much I miss my own system, keyboard etc. Not having a computer during the day is a bummer. Just doing simple things like checking the weather, or email, or Christmas shopping, I'm unable to do...and I miss that! The second thing is I'm amazed by how much work I can get accomplished around this house, when I don't have that computer around! :-)

Thanksgiving went great! It really was a wonderful time, and the preparations came together well in the end. I will say that my sister's first words when she saw the bathroom cabinets were "they're not too light". I had emailed her photos of them, and she said it is definitely my camera that is causing the color to be off. So I was glad to hear that! lol! Right now are taking we are break from the renovation scene, since we had to pay for a new computer. But I have small goals for January.

One thing that I am not great at, is finishing touches. I like to see the big picture, and plan and design, but the little details (curtains, lamps, wall pictures etc) well I don't enjoy all of that. So, lots of times that never gets done. I still don't have a lamp for my kids bookcase, even though it's been several months since we completed their room. Plus they have a hug wall (two actually) that are blank. So my goal for January is to finish off several of the rooms we remodeled. The boys bedroom, as well as the bathroom, and the living room. We have hung a blanket up on our atrium door windows for the last year and a 1/2 in the living room for privacy. I'm definitely going to finish that off! I have the fabric for curtain I have to get it done! (Did I mention that I don't sew!) I'll be getting ready to teach myself soon....

A repairman mentioned how much he liked our house today. And it really gave me pause to think. You know... so do I. I love this house, and no matter how much certain things bother me about it.... we have been blessed with this house. I am so very thankful for it, and as I walked around in it today, I felt quite comfortable, almost cozy, in this space that has become our home.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Preparing for Company....

Before I post about our prepping for company, I have to just comment on my last post about our cabinets. I took pictures, but this is the deal... I like them in person, but in the pictures I don't. Isn't that weird? My sister is coming into town next week, so I will ask her what she thinks. I emailed her a photo that I took, and I explained to her that they really didn't look that white to the naked eye. She said it might be the camera. Hmmmm....I'm not sure. So, the jury is still out about the bathroom. But it's as done as it can be for now, since company is coming in two days.

Now onto the company....I have been cleaning up a storm. The entire upstairs is ready for guests....all except the steam cleaning of the carpets. Downstairs we just have to mop and steam clean as well....and then we are close to done. Dh painted the guest bedroom this evening a very neutral color. He actually mixed two colors together that we had left. I loved the color surprisingly! It's going to look beautiful with the simple blankets I have and the antique steamer trunk and the rocking chair. I think I'm going to want to stay in that room, it's so soothing. :-) I've got to remember the two paint colors in case we want to use that color again. So 3 of 22 paint cans are now empty in the garage. (Primer, and the two mixed colors). yeah! A few are old colors from the previous owners. As we repaint each room, I am going to get rid of those too.

I would post pictures of the bathroom, but I'm not ready to do so yet, until it's all complete. Tomorrow I'll pull the guest room together and post before and after photos of the room. I'm off to clean a bit more and wrap a few presents for my son's birthday tomorrow. What a busy week it's been!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cabinets are finished!

The cabinets are finished and I absolutely love them. Such a good thing! The creamy color paint has definitely softened the look, and the hardware looks quite good. I even like the mirror painted a creamy color, although I am still debating on antiquing it. I won't decide that until after the flooring goes in. All in all, I'm very pleased!

I also cleaned out the guest bedroom somewhat and moved one piece of furniture. Goodness what a difference that made! I have an old antique trunk, with the wood slats on the sides. It's really cool looking, and I had it at the end of the guest bed. I moved it next to an antique mission rocker and it changed the whole feel of the room. Amazing what moving one simple piece of furniture will do..... it instantly opened up the room, and made it feel much larger. Plus moving the trunk, made that furniture item a cool focal point in the room. So, dh will prime the bbright green walls tomorrow evening, and a nice neutral color will go on the walls. Yeah!

I have done a thorough cleaning on two rooms so far, and have 2 more to do upstairs tomorrow. Ceiling fans, and plantation blinds are being cleaned of lots of dust. I already changed the air filter, so hopefully everyone will be breathing better in the house soon! :-) I used to kid about dust being a protectant for my furniture.... but after today....ewww... I'm setting up a weekly dusting schedule!

Finally, tonight I tried out a meatball recipe. Just regular old homemade meatballs that you can add to spaghetti. They were delicious, so I'll be making them for when my family comes into town. As Rachel Ray would say... "Yummo"! We had the meatballs this evening on sub rolls...and the rolls weren't so good, (kind of dry). So I told the boys and dh that next time I will try to make my own sub rolls in my new (to me) breadmaker. They have got to be better than what we had from the grocery store! (And no I have not used my breadmaker as of yet..... but maybe after Thanksgiving!)

I'll try to update with some cabinet pictures soon, as well as before shots of our bright green guest room ......

Monday, November 12, 2007

I can't even think of a title to this post....I'm just updating to say we are holding off on the flooring until after Christmas. We could not find anything we loved at Home Depot or Lowes, and we aren't willing to settle. So I was talking to dh this evening that perhaps after Christmas we could find what we want at a certain flooring company....and then get hardwood put it in our homeschool room. Our dining room and foyer have a beautiful wide plank cherry hardwood floor, and the homeschool room is directly across from it. The carpet in there has seen better days, and is stained in several areas. I eventually would like to put hardwood in the entire downstairs, kitchen and all. But we can't afford it now, and if I want to remodel the kitchen, (which I desperately do one day!), then laying hardwood now would be a waste of money. So, dh actually agreed to look into getting hardwood in that room and a vinyl in the bathroom. But all after Christmas. Yeah!

Onto those cabinets, well they didn't get painted today. But I did purchase all the hardware for them, and the clear matte acrylic that goes on top as a protectant. Once the cabinets are finally back up there, I'm going to focus completely on preparing for company next week. There is just too much to do, and not a lot of time left to do it! Add one child's birthday into the mix this weekend...and my schedule and my hands are full! Ack! I'll let you know how it all turns out....

Still working on the bathroom....

It's hard to believe it's been 10 days since I posted anything. I'm almost over the cold, but it's going around our family again. I gave it to one of my children, so I'm really hoping it doesn't get passed to the next and on to us again. I need to stay healthy for Thanksgiving!

As for the bathroom renovations. Well..... they are still going, and I'm as picky as ever. I did decide that the bathroom vanity will stay creamy white. I like the color the best, and I find it very soothing with the countertop and new sink fixtures. Very soothing. I put the final coat of paint on tomorrow, and then we seal it with clear matte acrylic spray. They should be back on the cabinet with the new cabinet fixtures on Monday evening. Yeah!

The mirror... well, I changed the black detailing to a mahogany color, and that has softened the look. I also painted it a creamy white. I am not sure yet if I will antique it or not. I'm waiting until all the rest of the pieces fall into place.

Flooring. What? Flooring? I was just talking out loud about the flooring, and how it needs to be warmed up in the room. Dh said to go get some peel and stick vinyl tiles to put in the bathroom. So, I picked what I liked and brought them home. It's a bit darker and I felt like it grounded the whole room so much better.... however the peel and stick is just not gonna do it for me. I know he says it's easier for him to lay, but in my research this evening, I've found that it is not the best thing to lay in bathrooms because of the moisture. Plus this just looks somewhat cheap without any grout lines or anything. I'm really not loving it, so it will go back to Home depot and I'll look to order a sheet of the linoleum that I want. It won't get done in time for Thanksgiving, but that's okay.... it can wait until after. Luckily what we have is in good shape, so people can use the bathroom. I guess this gives him time to prime and paint the guest room. Then I'll be thinking of lot's of warm, cozy accesories to add to the rooms. All from my own closets....(I hope!)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Not much going on here...

Sad to say, not muchis going on here. Both dh and I came down with big old colds...that we caught from the kids. Actually, the kids had it first, and then I got it about a week later, and now I gave it to dh. I've had it for several days, but dh will probably be over it quicker than me. He always seems to kick those colds faster than me! Anyway, I've gone through a whole box of Puffs tissues, and while they are thr ones with lotion in them, my poor nose is as red as Rudolph. :( Hopefully, I'll feel better in a few days.

I do plan on finishing the mirror this weekend, and hopefully if dh is better, we can finish the bathroom. We have to at least try to paint one more room before Thanksgiving. (Guest room, bright lime green...not a very soothing color for our guests to stay in!). Hopefully, we'll be done with the bathroom, and then onto the guest room. Whatever neutral color we have (and we have a lot!) will go on that wall. You know...I think I need to count paint cans we havein the garage..... seriously. I'll update this weekend!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My funny mom....

Let me preface this post with "I love my Mom"! She can be funny, sensitive, opinionated, and tough as nails. She follows my blog and I aways get an honest opinion of what she thinks.... so I was on the phone with her this evening lamenting of my decorating woes, and asking her if she would go look at my pictures and tell me her opinion.

So this is how the conversation went....

Me: So what do you think of the mirror?
Mom: Well, I like the blue on the mirror!.....
Me: Mom.... that's the painter's tape.
Mom: Oh. (chuckle)Well I think it brings out the blue in the shower curtain.
Me: Mom, the blue painter's tape is not staying.
Mom: Well, you asked me my opinion and I gave it to you...I like the blue and on the counter too.

She was chuckling with me when she realized it was painter's tape.... lol!

Anyway, the mirror is painted again. It is on the first stage of 2 more stages that need to happen. I painted it creamy white and will antique it with a chocolate glaze. It will give it an aged look and I know it will dull the white and make the whole thing less bright. Dh said he liked it, but he said he's liked everything so far. LOL! But he did say, of the three colors the mirror has been, this one is the best...

I am waiting for a decision about the cabinet base, until the mirror is done. I'm thinking it needs to go back to creamy. Hopefully the mirror will be done tomorrow, and I'll be able to finish the entire bathroom this weekend. That is my goal. On an positive note, I did find all the cabinet hardware for the doors and drawers at Lowes. It's a great match to all the other fixtures.

Time to finish my last coat of paint and call it a night!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cabinet Colors....

Oh the saga continues. Really....I think I have some issues. lol! I mentioned to dh that there is a program called photoshop, where you can take a picture of the room, and then change things and paint colors etc to see how it would look, before you actually begin to remodel. I said, it may actually save us some money. He said that wouldn't be a bad idea.....

This is the deal. In my last post I mentioned that I couldn't wait to see what the cabinets would look like painted a creamy white color. So this weekend, that's what I did, I painted all the cabinets and the base as well. I really liked them! But my biggest concern was that, with the mirror and this other rack I have, everything would be too light, and a bit too feminine. Several people made the suggestion to paint the cabinets red, to bring out the red in the shower curtain. I really liked that idea, but I just couldn't picture it, and me liking it, for long. I don't know.... probably brings back images of my cutesy country phase 10 years ago. I know the red wouldn't be cutesy country, but I can't seem to get past that in my mind.

Anyway, I also want the bathroom to be soothing. So.... here is what I did now. (I should have taken pictures of the creamy cabinets, as you may not believe me on this one). In my mind I have an image of what I am thinking about. My friend Michelle will know what I am talking about, as she does this also. But finding what I am looking for is another matter all together. So, in my mind is a paint color for the cabinets. It's a very muted khaki with a hint of green in it. Very muted. Unfortunately, I bought a sample one that is a darker color. It's actually called desert I guess it's like army khaki. (I know, you may be saying about now...."What is she thinking!?!?") Heaven only knows.... I can just sort of picture in my mind what I was thinking.... but it isn't coming out that way. I painted only 2 cabinet drawers, and I'll check them out tomorrow in the light. I think it's a little too dark.

So.... As I'm painting them, dh is watching TV. He loves the color and says it's very soothing. This is not a word dh uses very often, so I'm encouraged by it. Maybe I selected a pretty good color. The test will be when I put them next to that counter top. So, when the paint is dry, dh takes the cabinet drawer upstairs to put back in place. Afraid to look myself, I see him standing in the doorway just looking at the color. "Is it bad?", I ask. "No, the color is great!", dh responds enthusiastically. I step around and check it out. "I don't like it.", were the words out of my mouth. To which dh replied, "Get the program, no matter what the cost, get the program". lol! I busted out laughing. When he headed to bed, you could hear him muttering slowly under his breath, "Get the program, get the program", with a big grin on his face. LOL! Funny man.

So, I think I'm next going to work on the mirror. Let's see how many times I can paint that! :-)