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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How You Know It's Time To Declutter

Coinciding with No Spend August, I have also been cleaning out closets and trying to declutter a bit.  I made this infographic for you, albeit a bit facetiously, after I cleaned out my mudroom and found the most random group of items ever.  Why in the world did I have 47 unused cassette tapes, 22 newspapers, and 13 tissue paper poufs just sitting in my mudroom?  It was definitely time to declutter!


Do you need to declutter, too?  Make a commitment to cleaning out at least one area a week. I still have a few more areas to go, but it sure does feel good to purge things that aren't needed and get a little more organized.  





Monday, August 18, 2014

Living Room Update

Happy Monday!  I trust that you had an amazing weekend and are ready to start this week on the right foot. I feel like I have so far. I got up at 4:15 this morning to get ready for a 5am Boot Camp class. Yes, I am a proud member of the 5am Club, at least on Mondays that is. I am not a morning person, so this is quite a feat for me. 

As promised, today I am sharing the progress in our living room now that we have switched the dining and living areas. Here's what we have done so far. 


I added some black and white trellis curtains and custom one inch faux wood blinds. We almost had another Clark Griswold moment when installing the blinds. I failed to realize and the person that helped me at Lowe's failed to tell me to take into consideration the mounting hardware in the width when measuring for the blinds. We ended up about a half inch off when we got to installing the third blind. But, Jared took the last section of the blinds back to Lowe's and they cut it for us free of charge. Clark Griswold moment  crisis averted. 


I shared details on the gallery wall last week. You can read that here for more details on how to do your own linear gallery wall.  


I finally got the backs of our entertainment center painted and everything put back in its place. Remember it was this bold turquoise?





Here is a view from the living into the foyer. I like how you pick up on the black and white painted floors from this area. That's why I decided to bring in more black and white into this room; so it would be more cohesive and flow better. 








I put my old ladder in this corner to hold throw blankets. It fit there quite nicely, I think. 


I love looking at magazines. I subscribe to a couple and they are well loved. I look at them over and over again, studying each page to get inspired for my home. I used these wire baskets that I got a yard sale to house the magazines for easy access.  They fit perfectly on the coffee table shelf. 

Here is a look back at what the room looked like when we moved in......




And the room now......




Still to do:
*Switch out throw pillows (I am not digging the ones I have now in the space.)
*Get a large area rug (I am thinking yellow or a bold color to break up all the gray and black and white)
*Decorate around television
*Hang art on wall opposite the gallery wall
*Find Jared a chair that both rocks or glides and is pretty


That's making progress, right? I am pleased so far. I hope you have an awesome Monday!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living Room Gallery Wall

I have been working on getting things settled in our new living room area after the big room switcharoo, and the first thing that I have finished is a new gallery wall. I really like gallery walls. In fact, I already have a couple in my home; one in the side entry, and one in my girls' bedroom. But this one in the living room is different. It's more structured, linear, instead of being more haphazard like my other gallery walls. 


Believe it or not, I had all of these things in a closet. They were all just sitting there waiting to be used. I did have to make a couple of changes using paint, but for the most part these items were ready to go. The white frame with the gray mat actually had a blue mat. I painted to the mat gray to go with my color scheme. I made the "Be Brave" sign from scrap wood, and the two canvases with our monogram and the ampersand on them were a DIY project. More on that in a minute.


I usually like to visualize what the gallery wall is going to look like, so I put everything on the floor and played around with it until I got the look I wanted, keeping all of the items contained within a rectangle.


Then,  I traced each item and cut it out, marking where the nail hole goes for each. 


Then, I hung the paper with tape , making sure to get the spacing correct, then I used the nail hole guides to put my nails in the correct place. 




And ta-da! My new gallery wall. They really are fairly easy to do as long as you take the time to make them right and get the correct spacing of your items. I like very little space between items. To me, that gives it greater impact in the room. 



Now more about the canvases. 


My mom had given me two canvases that she didn't want anymore because she redecorated. Even though they weren't necessarily my style or fit into my decor, I kept them thinking that I could use them again somehow. So, here's what I did. 


I had a vinyl monogram tucked away for another project I had in mind, but decided I didn't want to use it for that. So, I put the monogram directly onto the canvas, then painted the whole thing gray.  I want to bring some yellow into the living room, so I thought just a small pop of it would work great.  I used a similar technique for the ampersand. 



Here is what the canvas looked like before. I needed a vertical picture so I turned it sideways and printed out an ampersand on cardstock and taped it to the canvas. Vinyl works much better, but I had to use what I had on hand.  I really love the way both came out.



I also used black and white photos, and free printables I found online to finish off the gallery wall. 


Here is a sneak peak in the small mirror of another thing I have added to the living room. I will share an update on the room soon. 




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

No Spend Month

NO SPEND AUGUST: ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

When +Lydia Senn of five4fivemeals.com posted a couple weeks about a "no spend" challenge, I decided that I was definitely going to get on board. Especially after having to buy school supplies and clothes for two kiddos.  And my affinity for thrift store shopping. And Target. Need I say more?  

While neither my husband or I are huge spenders, we do spend more than we should on some things and I really want to use this month for myself to pull the reigns in a bit on spending on frivolous things. 

This challenge isn't about not spending anything at all. After all, we all have our monthly obligations and bills that we are responsible for. This challenge, for me, is about gaining an upper hand on spending and hopefully by the end of the month, we will be all the better for it.  

Here is what I am not spending money on this month
*Movie Rentals- I am a movie watcher. Always have been and always will be. My girls love watching movies almost as much as I do. I rent movies almost once a week and usually at least two movies; one for me and one for the girls. If I rent two movies per week (from Redbox) that is $3 per week and $12 per month. (More if I forget to take them back on time and get hit with a double fee. Which has happened more times than I care to admit.) This month, no movie rentals for me. 
No-spend solution: Checking movies out from the library and taking advantage of free movie channel preview by recording movies with our DVR.  Or swap out with friends who are movie watchers. 
*Book Downloads: I love to read. While I try to download books that are free to my Kindle, most of the new best-sellers are not free. They can cost up to $10 for one book download. This month, I will not download any books that cost me money
No-spend solution: Check out books from the library or download books from the Alabama digital library. 
*Home Decor- While I do have some home improvement projects going on, which I consider previous obligation, I am putting a halt to decor buying. Whether that is at a thrift store, flea market, or Home Goods.  I hit up those stores frequently throughout the month on the search for a great bargain for something pretty. I don't usually go crazy and spend tons on that stuff, but $10 here and $5 there can add up really quickly. So no TJ Maxx, Ross, or Target for me this month. 
No-spend solution: Work on finishing home projects that I have already started and already have supplies to complete.  
*Eating Out- Okay, so I am going to say we will only eat out once a week and no more. I don't want to completely do away with it because that is something my husband likes for us to do as a family on the weekends. But, sometimes we eat out simply for the convenience of it even though I could cook at home. 
No-spend solution- Do a better job of meal planning and prep so that I am prepared to cook a good dinner and not caught off guard with, "I don't have anything thawed out."

(I realize I am posting this almost half way through the month, but these things I shared with you are things I have been adhering to since the beginning of August.)

Also, I am taking this month to clean out our closets and get ready for a yard sale. I have lots of really cute decor items that I loved and snatched up, but haven't really found places for them. If they have sitting in a closet for over year, I would say it's time to let them go. 

So what about you? Could you commit to using the rest of the month as a "no spend" time? Give up buying those extra sodas or coffee? Have a family game night instead of going out to a movie? Cooking instead of eating out?  It could be any small thing that you want to not spend money on.  As they say, "A penny saved is a penny earned."  I hope I can earn some of those pennies this month. 




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to School and a Free Printable

Yesterday was the first day of school for my first and third graders and everything went well.  They came home excited and exhausted. It's going to be a good year.  Here are few photos I snapped yesterday morning to commemorate the day.


First grader on the left, third grader on the right. Yeah, Ashlyn is now a bit taller than her big sister. 




 Ashlyn with her teacher, Mrs. Taylor. 




Katlyn with her homeroom teacher, Mrs. Jackson.


I love to send notes in both of my daughter's lunchboxes to let them know that I think about them throughout the day. So, I decided to make a free printable for you all to celebrate the new school year. Here are some lunch notes for you to send with your little one. I even included one to send on test days! Enjoy!

To print, right click to download, then print. A full page print works best. For personal use only.
Copyright Cultivate Create 2014.

Here's to an amazing school year!



Monday, August 11, 2014

A Summer Of Fun

Wow! This summer flew by so quickly!  This morning, my husband and I escorted our two little girls into their classes for their first day of school.  I feel like I blinked and the summer was over.  While I may kinda sorta want to fist pump and shout out a hooty-hoo, back to school, I still am so aware of how quickly time slips away from us. That we only have so little precious time with our children before they grow up. So here I am, feeling pretty nostalgic about my girls and wanting to remember what we did over the expeditious summer.




We enjoyed some time at Henderson Beach in Destin, Florida.  The sign and a roped off area was there when we arrived. I'm not sure if a wedding had already taken place or was about to, but I had to snap a picture of the adorable sign. 




Another weekend, Jared and I enjoyed a date night at Destin Harborwalk Village.  We ate at Margaritaville and were seated right on the water where I was able to snap lots of photos of boats coming in and out of the harbor. I love the pirate ship. 






After our dinner, we took a sunset cruise with Destin Snorkel.  It was a two hour cruise and we saw lots of dolphins. I wish I had been able to get a good picture of them, but they kept dipping back under the water before I snapped the photo. 


We enjoyed having our friends over for a Fourth of July barbecue. 



Katlyn and Ashlyn went to a red carpet birthday party for our neighbor and friend, Abigail. They had so much fun dressing up in red carpet attire.



I love this picture that my friend Ashton captured at the party. They are too funny. I love how a couple of the girls threw up the deuces!



Another beach trip this summer was a lovely day spent at Grayton beach with my friend, Stephanie, and her daughter. We packed a picnic lunch, played on the beach, then went to Seaside for some post-beach day ice cream. 




Katlyn decided she wanted her ears pierced, so we got that taken care of a couple of weeks ago.  She was so brave!




My mom took the girls to see Mary Poppins at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. They absolutely loved it! It was their first time at the Shakespeare Festival and they are ready to go back. 

My Aunt Cecelia also went to see the show.



These are some of Katlyn's classmates. We all get together and have a back-to-school party every year, and this year was no exception. They had so much fun together and made lots of memories.  The books they are holding are notebooks they can swap with each other and write each other notes throughout the year. 

We had a lot of ordinary summer days lounging at home, playing with neighbors, and watching movies curled up on the couch. We made lots of memories, both in the everyday and in the extras that we did.  Here's to a great school year for everyone!  



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