Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Has Fallen.....And There's A Lot of It!

John David's newest outdoor activity is raking leaves. He used to ask every day if he could ride his bike, but now he asks to rake the leaves. And that's all right with me because the amount of leaves in our yard is crazy.

I couldn't capture with my camera just how crazy so you'll have to trust me. Last weekend we had a few leaves scattered here and there but throughout the course of the week fall arrived in full force at our house! One tree went from being beautifully green to yellowish orange to almost completely bare in the last few days.

One cool thing about this city is that in the fall they come through with big trucks that have big sucking hoses (or so it's been described to me) and all you have to do is have your leaves raked to the curb. "All you have to do." Ha!

We've (and when I say "we've" I mostly mean "I") spent hours this week raking and my arms hate me right now. It's such a hard thing for a perfectionist to do though because once you've started you just want to get every single last leaf....which is impossible because even as you're raking it's "snowing" leaves.

You know what else I've realized? Our home's main source of privacy comes from the abundant landscaping - trees, bushes, and vines. Let's just say I saw the house behind us for the first time today - and I think we're about to be seeing a whole lot more of them. Which means they're about to be seeing a whole lot more of us!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Store Love

I have absolutely LOVED the resale store "Once Upon a Child" for years. I bought John David's first clothes there and have been a loyal shopper ever since. Buying (more specifically, paying for) brand new clothes all the time just seems ridiculous to me. Of course, there have been many times I've done just that for various reasons but those times are definitely the exception.

Well, be still my heart. Today I discovered the teen/adult version of this chain! It's owned by the same company and here where we live it's actually right next door to Once Upon a Child. The store is called Plato's Closet.

This resale place is packed with tons of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and coats for men and women both. They're picky about what they buy from people so it's good stuff! I was sad to only have about half an hour and two tired babies with me. You can bet I'll be figuring out how to get back there without kids very soon.

Check out their website to see if there's a location near you......

I'm linking up today because awesome clothes for a great price works for me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Tradition To Consider!

I never have and never will like all the candy that goes along with Halloween (or fall festivals, or whatever else your family may participate in). I saw a great idea the other day that we may start this year. I doubt I'll go all crafty to do it, but the basic idea is still so great. So simple yet so genius. Why didn't I think of this?

What do you think about "The Magic Halloween Bag" idea???

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Downstairs Half Bath

Our potty to people ratio definitely improved when we moved into this house. That's a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say.

When we first moved in though, I pretty much just closed the downstairs bathroom for business (pun intended). There was carpet in there (gross and not bleachable) and the toilet wasn't working very well. It didn't take much money and effort to rehab this little room though.

Here's a picture before we ever moved in (notice the weird light placement, the wooden potty seat, and the golden mirror):

The only thing wrong with the mirror for my taste was the goldness. I took that little guy outside and taped it off and sprayed it down.

I used this kind of paint but if I did it again I wouldn't use the metallic finish. I suppose it doesn't bother me that much though or I would have already repainted it. Either way, spending $3 for a can of paint beats $40+ for a new mirror any day.

Here's the bathroom with a new light (above the mirror instead of beside it!), the newly painted mirror, a new pedestal sink (these are dirt cheap at Home Depot and Lowe's) and the new faucet. I got to use a 10% off coupon too. =) That brought all of those things down to less than $100.

The potty was a discontinued model (that I LOVE and I'm sad I can't put them in my other bathrooms - look at the curves and the lines!). Because they no longer stock them, I got this one on clearance. We used tile and grout leftover from our last house so that was free.

The walls are painted caramelized onion by Valspar in a flat finish. (I used this color in John David's room first and I heart it very much. I couldn't bear to not use it again!) All the wall things I already had. That art plaque is strategically covering up an ugly silver vent fan. So don't do stinky things in my pretty bathroom - the fan is covered up!

So while my upstairs bathrooms are pink and yellow, at least I have this downstairs. Ahhhhhh......

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back To School Night (aka Open House)

Thursday was "Back to School Night" and the kids were SO excited about it. Every family was asked to bring a dessert so the evening started off with meeting other families and eating. It was night to talk to some other moms - I've yet to really make friends here yet so hopefully I didn't talk to much!

Julia adores Mrs. Jamie and I think the feeling is mutual. I teared up taking this picture because her teacher reminds me of my own kindergarten teacher. I remember being that age so clearly and look where I am now!

This is her seat for every day and she is busily working on a frame for a class picture.

This child loves, loves, loves school!

Julia was the student of the week and she had her own bulletin board in the lobby.

This is a picture she proudly made for the board.

I was able to get John David to stand still for a quick second with his teacher, Mrs. Nicks.

Daddy and John David worked together on a math project using candy corn. Julia just tried to eat it.

The 3rd graders were all excited about this math game they challenged their parents in.

His class had memorized two pretty lengthy poems that they recited for the parents. Of course, you could count on our son for some great animation and hand motions throughout the recitation.

Seriously though, he has really stepped out as a leader this year. I'm seeing things in him that I hadn't before. Glimmers of giftings and leadership that I somehow missed before. He is not a perfect student (behavior wise that is - grade wise he makes near perfect scores), but it's so neat to see how his character is being shaped. I'm thankful for a teacher who seems to also see these things in him. Instead of continually beating him over the head for every minor cut-up, she showers him with encouragement and pushes him to do better. She is a wonderful lady!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Craigslist to the Rescue

I didn't think I would find something this quick, but Craigslist is a powerful thing, my friends. Yesterday, I showed you my little sitting spot I created that needed some sort of table instead of the baskets I put there. That's just way too much wickery basket texture for one spot!

Last night this little vintage cabinet was posted. (It had a bigger, more attractive brother that I'm drooling over even now, but I've yet to think of a spot to put it.) The seller only wanted $15!

It's real wood and used to be used to hold record albums, she thought. I just love the idea of using things with character and history. So much better than a store bought side table - and a whole lot cheaper too! (Can you spot the 3 year old making faces in this picture?)

Here's the inside (that has not yet been cleaned). There are a lot of adjustable shelves inside. I'm not sure yet what I'll use the inside for. Suggestions? The obvious solution would be something shoe/sock/bookbag related, I guess. The cabinet definitely needs some love, but I like it just the way it is for now!

The picture I put on the shelf is a framed poem my dad gave me a few days before John and I got married. It's titled "First Times" and it's a tear jerker. I've never had just the right spot for it so I'm happy it finally has a home.

I can't resist just one more picture. Wait a minute....there's some sort of Star Wars guy in the shot! How in the world???

PS. I know the lamp is crooked. It's not the shade, but the whole stinkin' thing. I find it helps to tilt your head slightly when you look at it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Den

Just a reminder of what it looked like before we bought the house:


And here’s what it looked like very early in the redo – furniture was already in the middle of the room and the floor was taped off:

october 2009 009

Here I’ve painted the fireplace and primed the walls:

october 2009 011

Next I had to remove all the cabinet doors and the hardware:october 2009 012

It’s always a good idea to use some ziplock bags for hardware or switchplates when you’re painting or remodeling. Don’t think you can put them aside somewhere and keep them all together. (Trust me on this one.)october 2009 014

My Purdy paintbrush took a beating with this project but it did the job. If you invest in a good brush and take care of it, it will last a long time. I like Purdy brushes and for this angled 4” brush you’ll pay around $12-$15.october 2009 017

Here’s what the den looks like now:october 2009 027

That’s the garage you see outside the windows. I was unsure about what color to paint the door, and I started with white that matched the trim. It wasn’t right though and it really drew a lot of attention to the door, which is not where I want the eye to go. A deep chocolate brown was much better. I didn’t have money to buy new hardware for the cabinets so I used some dark brown Valspar spray paint and gave them all new life. $3 for a can of paint was much better than paying $3+ for each knob plus all the hinges!october 2009 033

Here’s a view standing near the tv corner. There’s the pass through into the kitchen. (That used to be an exterior window – this whole room was an addition in the 70’s. I painted both closets the same color as the walls (“coffee” by Valspar) since again, I didn’t want to paint them white and have them take up a lot of visual space.....Never mind about the pass through window - my picture was cropped by blogger and you can't even see it! october 2009 035

I love this little area! I’m still working on it (the baskets you see are temporary until I find a little side table about that height that I can rehab). The shelf thing has vintage door knobs as the hooks and it’s quite distressed (naturally!). I’m still thinking about what I want to go above it or on it. The chair is a $15 thrift store find and the plan is that this area is for putting on and taking off whatever huge snow boots we will be wearing for the next three years of our lives. (yea!)october 2009 024

This weird metal bug belonged to the former owners. Why would somebody own this? How funny. Funnier still is the fact that I haven’t removed it! Kind of a creepy little guy, huh? What a great white elephant gift. Maybe I should hang on to it?

october 2009 032

And in order to not close with a freaky looking bug picture, here’s one last look at the room. I really had a difficult time arranging furniture. The shape of the room plus the fact that there’s not a lot of usable wall space - due to window seats and closets – had me pretty frustrated. It finally worked when I put the tv on my grandmother’s old sewing table and stopped worrying about blocking some of the cabinets. I used a $.50 garage sale suitcase to give the corner some height and to anchor a lamp sitting on a couple of vintage books. The wicker ottoman is purposefully under the tv in order to add texture and to hide lots of cords. The container of sticks and eucalyptus was the final touch for that corner. It really finished it out. october 2009 028

So there you have it. A very different (and I think much better looking!) room for the cost of paint (about $50) plus a few garage sale and thrift store accessories. If I had the cash, there would be beautiful bamboo shades on all the windows plus some better decor for the fireplace. Also some pillows for all the window seats. I’ll probably make some pillows this winter though and the shades will just have to wait. Besides, I like the view outside!

This was one week’s worth of work that, to me, is very worth it……

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They'll Be Coming 'Round the Blogspot When They Come......

Just a quick post to say that yes, pictures of the den update are coming soon. Painting is done (squeal!!!) and furniture is in place. Let the decorating (on $0 budget) commence!

Thanks for being patient.....this was a gigantic undertaking!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Thought We Were Doing Good......

The Man and I have been married for over 10 years now (wow!) and things have really been going quite well.

He surprised me with a trip for our anniversary for one thing.

And then a couple of weeks ago our blender broke. You may wonder why that's even relevant, but to me it was quite a milestone for our marriage. We outlasted a really good, quality appliance we had received as a wedding gift. We didn't celebrate with a ceremony or anything, but I did think a few sentimental thoughts as I tossed the thing in the garbage.

All in all I think we have a pretty good thing going on.

Then yesterday at church the pastor was talking about the current sermon series about baggage. They were explaining how you can go on the church website and contribute pictures that represent whatever your "baggage" may be.

My husband didn't miss a beat. He turned toward me, shaped his hands like a camera and said, "Say cheese!"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Making This House Our Home

As much as we adored the pink master bedroom that came with our house.....

We feel much better now that we changed it up a little.

If I had the money you can bet I would have already done some great window treatments, but the old white mini blinds will have to do for now. Also, the big circle art things over our nightstands aren't totally my thing either, but it's what I had so up they went.

Notice the two closet doors on either side of the dresser. One little closet is mine and one little closet is John's. Are you surprised that we installed a big steel hanging rod in the basement for more clothes?

Ahhhh, let's have a moment of silence for the light. Isn't it lovely? Don't you want to gaze upon its loveliness as you fall asleep every night and wake up every morning? Don't hate me for my light.

And here's a peek at the den. I didn't take this picture until I had already removed window coverings and squished the couches together. This room is getting a face lift this week. Woohoo! I'll see how far I can get on a teeny budget. If I survive the project, pictures will be posted later.......