Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of Revising Home


This page will be the landing page for my 31 Days series.  Each day I will add the link as each post goes live.  I hope you'll check back and come with me on this 31 day journey!

Day 1: Scroll down to read day 1.
Day 6: Game On!
Day 12: Saying No
Day 15: Fall Mantle 
Day 17: Fall Decor
Day 20: Fall Round-up
Day 24:
Day 26:
Day 27:
Day 31: Last Day!

Day 1
As I have mentioned in a couple previous posts, this month I will be joining the 31 Day Challenge hosted by Nesting Place.   It is an online writing challenge where you write about a topic everyday in October.   Click here to see the categories and all the other wonderful 31 Days topics. 

In preparation for this series, I thought about what exactly it was that I wanted to write about.  What could I possibly have to say about something for 31 days?  It didn't take me long to come to a decision.  The topic is something that I think about a lot.  Revising Home

We have been in our home for about a year and a half now, and I have noticed since we have gotten into the swing of things here, that everything may not be laid out in the most efficient way.  Maybe some of our rooms aren't being used to their full potential.  Maybe some of the habits in our home need to be revised.  




I thought about all the ways that I could better the lives of those in my little family God has so graciously blessed me with; not just in the concrete things like an organized kitchen where little hands can reach a cup, but also the things that make us "us."  The things that are of greater importance, the things that are of more than temporal value.  How easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of life and miss those opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our children, our husbands, our friends and family.  Or maybe to a perfect stranger.  






As I take this journey, I hope you will come along with me as I share ways I am Revising Home.  Anywhere from reorganizing a closet or cabinet to implementing something special for my children.  Come along with me as I ask, 

"What's not working here?"  
"How can this be more efficient?"
"What value does this have in the grand scheme of things?"
"How is my family benefiting from this?"

I am going to ask myself hard questions.  And I want to talk to you about it!  I want to hear how you are revising home as well.  



Creating a Fall Vignette

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a splendid weekend.  Today I wanted to share how I create a vignette; the process that I go through when decorating a small, defined space.  And since today is the last day of September, I thought it would be appropriate to do a fall vignette to demonstrate. 


STEP ONE
 *Start with your base layer.  I knew I wanted to use this mirror and layer it with a fall scene tray.  The gourd vase and apothecary jars are also elements I knew I wanted to add.  

STEP TWO
 *Add layers.  The mirror was too stark by itself so I added a burlap ruffle wreath and hung it with some fall tartan fabric that I will be incorporating into my Thanksgiving tablescape.  Just adding that one layer makes it look a lot more polished.

STEP THREE
 *Add details.  Here, I added more vase filler to give it a little more color and hung chalkboard art, a wooden wall plaque with a gold leaf on it, and an acorn plate.  This fills empty space and finishes off the "collected" look I was going for.  


STEP FOUR
*Reevaluate.  After finishing the first three steps, I knew that it still lacked something.  While I did like the apothecary jars, I thought they weren't quite right for this vignette and that it needed something a little more solid.  I removed the jars and added a stack of books and some grapevine spheres and some small pumpkins to give it color. Just looking at the pictures in step three and step four, you can visually see how using something more solid pleases the eye.  Sometimes it is just trial and error when styling a vignette.  Something I do a lot is take a picture of what I am doing and look at it on your camera or computer. That gives fresh perspective and helps you determine what is lacking. 


















One more tip:  Repeat colors and decor elements to pull everything together.  The gold was repeated on the leaf plaque, the pumpkin, and the hinges on the pie safe.  The orange was repeated on the tiny pumpkins, lettering on the book, and faintly on the fall scene tray.  Wood was repeated on the grapevine spheres, the branches in the vase , the wall plaque, and the mirror.  It makes for a more cohesive look. 

How is your fall decorating coming along?  


*Last day to order from Yard & Sons with the coupon code!  Take advantage of the offer!


Linking up to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
The DIY'ers at Home Coming blog
Autumn Abounds Link Party at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Fall Tablescapes and Vignettes at Centsational Girl

Friday, September 27, 2013

Formal Dining and Office Before and Progress

As promised, I am sharing before and progress pictures of our formal dining room and office.  But first, let me explain a little about the layout.  

When the house was on the market, the house was set up with a formal living room with a small formal dining room off to the side.  We are not really formal living room/sitting type of people.  But I did want a larger space to entertain and have special dinners.  My dining table would barely fit in what was the formal dining room.  

After a suggestion from my friend, Stephanie, we decided that it would make more sense for us to convert what was the formal dining room into an office, and what was the formal living room into the formal dining room.  It is a much more functional layout for our lifestyle. 


Formal Dining

Before with the drapes left by the previous homeowner and yellow walls. 



I tested out a couple of greys before deciding on the one I love!  


Here it is with the draperies gone, the walls painted grey, but still had carpet. 


I took these pictures in December of 2012 right after we had the floors put in.  It was still a pretty bare space at this point, but looked a lot more updated and modern with the grey walls and dark floors. 

Here is another shot of the dining room.  I really love the windows that let in so much natural light. The dining room table was given to me by two of my dearest friends I call my sisters from another mister.  It was unfinished and I did a whitewash finish on it.  The antique piece in the corner there was given to us by J's dad.  It is a pie safe made from an old upright organ.  


Still to do:  
Have electrician install chandelier and recessed lighting.  (This room currently has no overhead light.  There is a switch that turns a couple of the electrical outlets on and off that was used with lamps.)
Purchase rug
Purchase dining room chairs
Art work and decor

(I am a little further along in this room than these pics show, but I will reveal the updates when I share my fall home tour.) 


Office:
What a mess!  We piled everything in this room when we were getting ready to do the floors.  This was the formal dining room, but we thought it was better suited to be an office. 









 At this point, floors have been done, walls painted grey, curtains hung, and temporary light fixture has been hung to replace the chandelier I took down out of here. I found the silver barn light at Lowe's marked down to $10.  While it is not the right light for the office, I hope to find another home for it later. Maybe in the mudroom.


 The temporary computer desk will be replaced with built-ins along that whole wall.  The cabinets we are using to do the built-in desk area are sitting in my garage on saw horses just waiting to be painted. Man, I need to get started on this project! The piano will be moved (and refinished).  


Still to do:
Paint cabinets taken out of kitchen and make built-ins along back wall of office. 
Add new light fixture and a couple of recessed lights or pendant lights above where desk area will be.
Add rug.
Add decor elements.

So, there you have it.  I really hope to get started on the office project soon.  It is beckoning me even now. I won't be able to put it off much longer. 




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Foyer Before and Progress

Hi, guys!  Just stopping in today to show you before and progress pictures of our foyer.  I am still trying to get you guys caught up with what all we have done around here.  Just a couple more "catch up" posts and we should all be up to date.  


Before:
I snapped these right after we moved in.  I had lots of paint samples sitting in the floor as I was trying to figure out what color to paint.




This light fixture is adorable. The picture really doesn't do it justice.  I will reuse this little guy in another space---maybe my walk-in closet.  It is too small for this space.  


Whoa, this picture makes the walls in the foyer look neon. It wasn't bright green. It was more of a dark "country" green. 


During:
I got the bright idea that I wanted stripes in the foyer.  I had drooled over some beautiful striped foyers that I had seen on Pinterest.  When I was completely finished painting, though, it really reminded my of a little boy's nautical bedroom.  Not the look I was going for. This taught me it's okay to make mistakes when designing and decorating. If and when that happens, it's okay to change it. In this case, it was just paint.  Easily changed. 

Progress:
Here it is!  I decided since I have such a bold living area, that I wanted the foyer to be soothing with pops of color that I have used in other rooms.  I painted over the stripes with Nimbus by Benjamin Moore. It is a shade lighter than my formal dining room.  This room isn't finished yet, but I like the direction it is going!

Still to do:
Replace light fixture
Refinish and paint or stain parquet floors
Add more artwork
Add long console table and move blue dresser to opposite wall in foyer

Stop back by tomorrow for before and progress pictures of the formal dining room and office.





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ten Essential Plants for the Southern Yard

I love this time of year, when fall is being ushered in and cooler weather is on the way. I  look forward to planting fall annuals like pansies, violas, and seeing the beautiful mums on porches. There is nothing like fall in the south.  But, I am a proud southern gal so I may be a bit partial. 

Fall is also a great time to get in your yard and work!  Plant new trees and shrubs after the heat of the summer is gone, but before the cold winter sets in.  Here, in south Alabama, we are in planting Zone 8. You can read more about that here.  (If you are not sure what your planting zone is, check here.)

I am getting ready to do a little fall yard work, and I started thinking about all the amazing plants that, in my mind, epitomize the southern yard. I have compiled a little list of some that I love.  


Southern Magnolia
source


Camelia 
source


Crepe Myrtle 
source


Azalea 
source



Knockout Roses 
source


Dogwood 
source


Hydrangea
source


Gardenia 
source


Daylilies 
source

Boxwoods
source

What do you think are essential plants for the southern yard?  Which ones would you add to 
this list?  



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mouse Debacle of 2013


Recently, my husband and I attended a marriage retreat.  We had such a wonderful time. We laughed. We cried (or maybe that was just me). We laughed so hard we cried.  It was such a sweet weekend to remind us of God's purpose for marriage and helped us to focus on what really matters.  



The first night we were there, all of us ladies were asked to write one word down on a card that our husband would know was ours .  They would be read aloud and the husbands were to raise their hand when their word was called. 

In order for you to be able to guess something like that, you have to have a history with a person.  You have to have inside jokes, to have lived through ups and downs. You have to be each others person.  You two have to be an us.  

One of my best friends and her husband were sitting at the table with us.  I said, "I know what our word would be."  She looked at me and grinned and together we said, "Inky Binky Bonky."  (Long story from years ago.)  We could say with certainty what our "word" was because we know each other. We have a history.  We have stories and memories.  Our marriages should be no different. 

As the words on the cards were read aloud, hands would shoot up.  Some of the words were pretty funny.  As soon as the word mice was called out, J's hand shot up. 

He knew it was our word. I knew he would know.  

You see, during our marriage (Eight and a half years), we have had some encounters with the little vermin.  Some, I hope you never have!

On our five year anniversary, we rented a "rustic cabin" in the mountains of north Alabama. I thought, How romantic. A cabin with only a large fireplace for heat with a beautiful view and small waterfall just outside of the back door.  We had no idea just how rustic it would be.  

The afternoon we arrived at the cabin, we unloaded our things and headed out to see some sights.  We may have been gone an hour or two, and when we got back to the cabin, the loaf of bread we had placed in the kitchen already had a huge hole it.  Mice.  

To make a long story short, our long weekend consisted of seeing mice skitter across the floor in broad daylight,  taking a running jump for the couch or bed to avoid said mice running across our feet, and hearing mice shrieks at night when they had been caught on the glue traps that Management had given us. ("Oh, you're in that cabin. Here, have a whole pack of glue traps.")

Our most recent encounter, however, has been ongoing for about two or three months.  

Back in July, we purchased an air conditioner from a home improvement store.  We brought it home and placed the large box in the living room.  When J pulled the lid from the box, four mice scattered from the box and into our house.  Then it was utter pandemonium.  J had no idea what was going on at first.  You should have seen the look on his face as my girls and I started shrieking and running. We caught two mice within about fifteen minutes.  

J returned the air conditioner to the home improvement store and exchanged it, making sure the manager noted the incident and checked the new one before he took it out of the store.  They gave us a pack of glue traps.

Over the next few days, we had two more mice on glue traps and we thought we were finished with mice.  That was wishful thinking.

About three weeks later, I opened my car door and saw a mouse scamper across the floorboard.  Evidently, there were more mice in the box from the home improvement store than just the four who ran into my house.  And it was now living in my vehicle.  

I was completely freaked out, thinking that at any time while driving down the road, a mouse would run across my feet.  So, in went the glue traps and we caught our stowaway mouse that evening.  We were done with the Mouse Debacle of 2013.

Or so we thought. A few days later, we entered our vehicle and saw that my pack of gum had been chewed.  We had more mice! We had no idea how many.  

We set out glue traps and other traps all over the vehicle. Jared baited it with peanut butter crackers. (We know they like peanut butter crackers because they chewed into a pack of them while I was on my way home from Wal-Mart! I didn't even hear them!)  I know you have the heebie jeebies right now.  I am shuddering as I remember. Eww! 

Anyway, they kept finding a way to eat the crackers without getting caught.  I imagined our little vermin friends like this video: (Watch the whole video! If you don't you will totally get the wrong idea!) 



  

Or maybe our mice stowaways have outsmarted us because they are as wise as Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:




Last week, we finally caught another mouse.  I'm not sure if that was the last of them. I certainly hope so.  So far, there have been no more signs that indicate we still have a mouse hostel in our SUV.

As I  remember this story with shudders and goosebumps, I am also thankful for my husband.  He knew our word.  He and I are an us. He's my person.  In ten, fifteen, or twenty years, I hope we have many more words

Maybe our next word will be something more soothing.  I'm hoping for beach or mountains. But for now, we'll stick with mice.   




Friday, September 20, 2013

Repurpose: From Shirt to Pretty Patterned Pumpkin


I have this cute houndstooth shirt.  It has blues, oranges, and yellows.  So adorable. I even bought jewelry to match it.  A great statement necklace and a couple of chevron bangle bracelets.  

But I ripped it.  And because of the material it is made of, it can't be repaired.  I didn't want to throw it away and I didn't want to donate a ripped shirt. So I came up with an idea!  

I could cover pumpkins with it!


I have been crushing on turquoise and blue pumpkins.  I thought this fabric paired with turquoise pumpkins would make a nice combination.  

I sprayed my dollar store pumpkins white (the fabric is kind of see-through), covered them with the fabric from the shirt and adhered it with a glue gun. Then hot glued the painted and fabric-adorned pumpkins to a grapevine wreath.  


After cutting circles out of the shirt near the bottom, I still had the sleeves and shoulders intact.  I used it to tie the wreath to the door.  


I added a few sprigs of small birch tree branches that I spray painted gold to give it a little dimension. 






Now, I have to get the rest of my front porch fall decorations finished. Be sure to check back for the full reveal! 

*Linking to the DIY'ers at Homecoming

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